What exactly is Vernix Caseosa? This substance, with a white and cheesy appearance, coats the majority of neonates. Find out more about the characteristics of vernix and the advantages it offers to infants.
Vernix caseosa is a white substance that resembles cheese and may cover your newborn infant in a thin or thick layer when they are delivered to their new homes. Vernix, as it is more generally known, provides several important benefits for your child despite the fact that it can be unpleasant to look at and may be spotty or covered completely. In particular, this covering helps preserve their skin. It provides a little bit of lubrication while they are giving birth to their young. The following explains the vernix that will be found on your newborn.
Vernix: what is it?
Only human babies are born with a coating of vernix caseosa, which is unique among mammals. The waxy material is produced by the sebaceous glands, which also produce skin oils as your baby develops. Additionally, the vernix caseosa contains shed skin cells. Additionally, shed skin cells can be found within the vernix caseosa.
Around the 19th week of gestation, vernix makes its debut on your child’s skin for the first time. After about 34 weeks, your unborn child’s vernix will begin to dissolve into the amniotic fluid, and this process will continue until delivery. Because of this, babies born prematurely will often have a greater quantity of vernix on their skin than babies born at full term. In addition, it is perfectly normal for the amount of vernix still on a baby at the time of delivery to differ from newborn to newborn; the quantity of vernix still on your baby’s skin is not something that should give you concern.
What Does Vernix Look Like?
Vernix most often manifests itself on the skin of your newborn baby in spots. It is typically described as having a creamy white tint and a thick, waxy consistency. It could look like there are patches of an opaque lotion that haven’t been massaged in properly. If, on the other hand, it has a greenish or yellowish-brown tint, this is a strong indication that your kid has already passed meconium, which is the first stool, while still in the womb.
The Advantages of Vernix: What Does It Do?
Vernix acts as a barrier between the harshly acidic amniotic fluid and the sensitive skin of your unborn child while they are still in the womb. It hydrates their skin, acts as insulation for their body, and keeps them at the correct temperature, which is also comfortable while they are still in the uterus. According to Laura Riley, M.D., an OB-GYN practicing in New York City, vernix also performs the function of a lubricant, making it simpler for your baby to pass through the delivery canal.
According to research, the enticing “new baby fragrance” that is associated with infants is caused by vernix caseosa that has been left over. There is a possibility that exposure to this odor can cause new parents to experience feelings of love and joy.
In addition, the vernix acts as a sound barrier for fetuses, as follows: Even though they should be able to hear your voice by the time they are about 25 weeks old, the vernix that covers their ears protects them from the sound.
Do All Babies Have Vernix?
If your baby is overdue, there is a chance that the vernix will be thin or nonexistent altogether. The explanation for this is that it had probably already been absorbed by the amniotic fluid before delivery. There is no risk to the health of your child associated with the absence of vernix, although the baby’s skin may be more prone to dryness.
How Much Time Does Vernix Remain on a Baby?
Ari Brown, M.D., a doctor in Austin, Texas, and the creator of 411 Pediatrics as well as the author of Expecting 411, Baby 411, and Toddler 411, encourages parents not to be too hasty while removing vernix from the skin of their newborn babies. According to research, removing vernix is not required for hygiene reasons, and leaving it on the skin may help prevent bacterial infections and speed up the healing process of wounds. The World Health Organization recommends waiting at least six hours, but preferably twenty-four, before giving a baby its first bath.
The only exceptions to this rule are if your infant has meconium stains or if the parent who gave birth has hepatitis or HIV. In these cases, you should immediately wash the vernix off your infant.
After the vernix has been rinsed away, your infant’s skin may become dry and flaky, most noticeably on their hands and feet. Do not bother trying to remove the flakes; in most cases, they will vanish on their own within a few weeks.
Remember that vernix tends to remain concealed in skin creases for a few days or even weeks following delivery. If you find it, you can remove it by wiping it off carefully, or you may just leave it alone until it falls off.