the little scar in the middle of your abdomenmarks the place where, for about nine glorious months, all the nutrients you needed to growand develop and survive flowed straight into your bloodstream while you just floated aroundin a sac of amniotic fluid. but have you ever wondered what was going on with your otherbodily functions while you were in that enclosed space? to put it a little more bluntly, didyou, you know, pee and poop in there?
how much can a bladder hold, the answer to question #1 is yes, definitely:embryos start peeing after just two months of development, around the time they firstbegin swallowing--and, therefore, drinking--amniotic fluid. this does essentially mean that fetuses spendseven months drinking their own pee, but that's
actually not as gross as it sounds. for onething, urine--unlike feces--is sterile, so it doesn't contain bacteria that could makethe fetus sick. also, the waste products we normally get rid of by urinating, like excessnitrogen, are instead filtered from the fetus and delivered, through the umbilical cord,back to the mother for disposal. and what about the waste we normally get ridof by pooping? well, mom takes care of that, too - indirectly. she digests food beforeit gets to the baby, absorbing nutrients like sugar and protein into her bloodstream andthen passing those nutrients to her fetus through the umbilical cord. so most of thepotential poop products stay with the mother. the fetus's digestive system isn't totallyempty, though: some waste does go there and
get broken down by acidic bile in the smallintestines, producing a slimy, sticky greenish mass called meconium. but, unlike the largeintestine of everyone outside a womb, a fetus's large intestine is mostly sterile and devoidof the billions of bacteria that break down
our waste and make up as much as 50% of thebrown pulp known as feces. so the green, sticky mass that forms in afetus's small intestines eventually becomes a green, sticky, and mostly bacteria-freemass inside the baby's first dirty diaper. and in a way, it's the first--and last--cleanpoop in anyone's life.