You've probably heard about it or maybe seen a pic of a baby covered in it.
You know, that cheesy looking "gunk" on the baby when it comes out?
What is vernix made of?
Vernix is made up of water, sebum (cells off baby and hair),
fatty acids, cholesterol, and waxy lipid molecules.
What does vernix do?
Especially while inside, it protects baby's skin from the acidity of the amniotic fluid.
It acts a sealant and without it baby would come out looking like a prune.
Helping baby to wiggle and slide out.
4. Muffle Sound.
Because it is covering baby entirely, it is also muffling sounds while in the womb for the baby.
It is like a nice blanket of protection against temperature change for the baby.
So, why leave vernix on baby after birth?
The World Health Organization recommends leaving baby unbathed for at least 24 hours. It is thought that the benefits in the womb continue after birth; so it can help regulate baby's temperature, keep baby moisturized, and helps protect the skin.
It may act as an antimicrobial and also may aid in wound healing.
It is also thought to act as a barrier between baby and meconium, if present.
Why would a baby not have vernix?
Vernix doesn't develop until the third trimester, so if baby is premature, they may have very little or no vernix.
If baby is passed term, it also may have very little to none because of being absorbed into the amniotic fluid.
And some babies have a ton and some have very little, so it is totally dependent on your body and baby.
Vernix can gross some people out, for sure.
It can be thick and cheesy...
Many people want to wash baby right away to get the clean and that's totally fine!
Just like everything else, this is your baby and your choice.
But VERNIX is pretty cool stuff either way!
Jessica Anne Dill
Mom of 5, Wife, Student, Professional Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and best friend of coffee and long naps!