Bio-medical Aspects: Deanna Watson

In this phase of the project, Our team, M.O.M, has been working on getting the materials and presentation together for our final for the semester. This project has had a lot of ups and downs, and the end is near. It has been challenging but innovative to be able to work and produce a design for a breast pump that will benefit moms on the go. For the presentation, I’m in charge of the biomedical research. Since, I am apart of the biomedical pathway at the Ann Richards School, this assigned role fits perfect. I researched the production of milk, and hormones that are evident in the women’s body.

During pregnancy, the body release increased levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone in the body through the bloodstream. These hormones stimulates clusters of cells in the breast called alveoli, and the milk ducts to grow. Alveoli are milk producing cells, in which it and the milk ducts lead from a lobe. Most women have around seven to ten lobes of glandular tissue in each breast to produce milk. When a women is pregnant or breast feeding, the areola (darker part of the breast) and the nipple is enlarged, making it easier for the baby to latch on. Montgomery glands are the smaller bumps that are on the areola. To understand the hormone process, explains more in depth. To learn more about the anatomy of the breast, visit

The glands are sebaceous glands that produces a natural oil that cleans and protects the nippile during pregnancy and breastfeeding. When a baby is feeding, the jaw and tongue is pressed down on the milk ducts causing milk to suction. A women has 15 to 20 openings for milk to flow from the nipple to provide nutrients to the baby. The suckling of the baby stimulates the nerves in the areola and the nipple, causing the brain to release the hormones prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin causes the alveoli to intake nutrients from the bloodstream and turn it into breast milk. Oxytocin causes the cells around the alveoli to contract and push milk down the milk ducts.

Baby suckling breast diagram

When the baby is born, colostrum is present in small amounts in the breast milk for the first three days. This protein is high in nutrients, to provide additional nutrients. Colostrum is a thick yellow substance that is high in protein, and low in fat and sugar. Colostrum is  rich in the antibodies being passed from the mother to the infant. These antibodies protect the baby and act as a natural laxative, helping the infant pass the first stool called meconium.

At the slow rate of newborn suckling, each cycle lasts approximately 1 second, and the effective period over which negative pressure is applied is roughly half of this. The effectiveness of the pump is based on the pump cycles. A nursing baby suckles for about 45 to 55 times each minute. Lower cycles cause ineffective withdrawal of milk from the breast and causes nipples and breast pains. This causes pain because the cycles would be longer and will pull the nipple longer. The average suction is ranged between 0mmHg to 250mmHg. Anything higher than that could cause severe pain and discomfort. T

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