When we become pregnant, we know that many changes will happen, but we are not always aware of all the events, both with our body and with the growth of the baby. Although there are thousands of pieces of information available everywhere, many moms still don’t know or know vernix.
Contrary to popular belief, vernix is not a mess of childbirth, far from it. The vernix is quite a friend of the baby! Find out how it appears, when and how it helps the fetus still in the mother’s womb.
What is Vernix?
With approximately 25 weeks of pregnancy , the baby’s body begins to be covered by a white layer of fat produced by the sebaceous glands, we can say that it is a fat “similar” to that of the spine, but in a different way because it contains beneficial properties.
This layer of natural fat is called caseous vernix and is white, water resistant. This fat is quite intense between 27 and 35 weeks of gestation , because the body constantly produces fat on the baby’s skin. There are cases in which vernix crusts are seen even on ultrasound examination .
What is Vernix for?
In the womb, the baby is surrounded by the amniotic fluid and, in principle, the vernix serves to protect the baby’s sensitive skin against direct contact with the amniotic fluid. However, recent studies have found that vernix contains antibacterial proteins that protect the baby from infections both inside and outside the uterus, as vernix persists up to a few hours after birth. In addition, vernix is rich in fats that will help the baby’s natural elasticity.
When the baby is born prematurely, that is, before 37 weeks of pregnancy , the vernix is more intense, with the proximity of delivery, it is gradually reduced until birth. It allows the baby to stay protected from diseases that could attack the baby’s sensitive skin due to its low PH.
At birth, the PH of the newborn’s skin is still quite neutral, which allows opportunistic microorganisms to cause disease to the baby while still in the maternity ward. This natural protection favored by vernix is called the acid mantle.
Do I Need to Remove Vernix from the Newborn?
In several birth videos on the internet outside, what you see most are the nurses rubbing the baby to remove the vernix. This raises an interesting question: to withdraw or not? Is it bad if the baby continues with the layer of vernix even after birth? What to do?
Explanatory Video: (h3)
Ideally, the vernix bed should remain with the baby. Even if the bath is given in the maternity ward, the baby needs to spend more time with the vernix. There is no need for maneuvers to remove all vernix , some maternity hospitals make use of mineral oil, bath oil and even moisturizing creams. However, none of this is necessary, vernix will naturally come out over the hours and days.
About 2, 3 days the baby will be completely clean of the vernix, and if it is not, it is not a problem, on the contrary, a little will not hurt. The place where the vernix lodges most is in the folds . It is very common to see babies at one week old, still with white spots on the groins, armpits and behind the folds of the knees.
When is it necessary to remove Vernix?
Like everything in life, the non-withdrawal of vernix has its exceptions . It is necessary to remove vernix immediately from the baby’s body if the mother has an extremely contagious disease such as HIV, for example infections or positive streptococcus.
It is also recommended to remove excess vernix if after 36 hours of life, the baby still has a large amount attached to the body. This is because the excess of vernix can promote an overhydration, which will bring an increase of fungi in the place .
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.