That white, fatty substance that covers the newborn baby. Do you know what it is? Do you know what it’s for? Maybe her first reaction is to twist her nose, believing it’s dirt. But believe me, it’s not! The white “cream” that surrounds the baby is called a vernix and serves as a protective layer during pregnancy and right after birth. Let’s learn more about this natural moisturizer?
How does the vernix form?
The vernix is formed by the accumulation of secretion from the sebaceous glands, including epithelial cells and lanugae. It is produced between the 20th and 38th week of gestation. In a very thin or very thick layer, the protective substance usually disappears naturally within the first 24 hours of life. Babies born at over 40 weeks usually have less vernix. Premature babies are born covered by the natural moisturizing “cream”.
What are the functions of the vernix?
This greasy, white layer is more important than we think. It has numerous protective functions and is important for the development of the fetus and also for the first hours of the baby out of the womb. So that you know each one, we have made a complete list:
– Hydrate: The substance has a high water content, increasing the hydration and plasticity of the baby’s skin.
– Protect: The vernix is a natural barrier against infection, inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
– Acid: The fatty layer helps the formation of the acid mantle, which takes about two to eight weeks to develop fully, depending on the gestational age of the baby. The newborn has a virtually neutral pH of the skin. This pH only reaches 5.5 – a level necessary for the skin’s defense against pathogenic bacteria – little by little and it is in this “barrier” that the vernix acts.
– Sunshine: Yes! He has melanin in his composition, which protects the newborn from ultraviolet rays and sunlight.
– Regeneration: The substance regenerates the skin. So much so that its healing properties are being studied for the treatment of perineal wounds after delivery.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, the vernix should be kept in the baby’s body for at least six to eight hours after birth. Therefore, the newborn baby’s bath should be postponed. The immediate removal of the substance is only recommended in cases of mothers with HIV virus, with a history of infection or if there is meconium in the placenta.
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