A woman who is pregnant and at term is most likely to have a decrease in which of the following compared to her prepregnant values?

There are significant changes to respiratory physiology in a term pregnancy that are relevant to anesthetic management. Airway changes such as edema and vascular engorgement can make it more difficult to safely secure the airway. Mallampati scores have been demonstrated to increase throughout pregnancy and labor. The mucous membranes (particularly those in the nose) become increasingly friable and can be easily traumatized, resulting in excessive bleeding. Narrowing of the airway due to edema may necessitate the use of smaller tracheal tubes (<7.0 mm).

The gravid uterus may cause an elevation of approximately 4 cm in the diaphragm. This elevation leads to reductions in both the residual volume and the expiratory reserve volume. These decreases...

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