When born, hatchlings are often red, wrinkled, and coated with a yellowish fluid called ᴠᴇʀɴɪx ᴄᴀsᴇᴏsᴀ. This substance, which consists of peeling surface skin cells and debris from ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ, coats the baby’s skin in utero and plays a key role during pregnancy and childbirth. By forming an adherent and impermeable film on the epidermis, ᴠᴇʀɴɪx ᴄᴀsᴇᴏsᴀ protects the skin of the fetus during pregnancy when it is bathed in ᴀᴍɴɪᴏᴛɪᴄ ꜰʟᴜɪᴅ.
After birth, it also protects the infant against external aggression by forming a natural waterproof barrier. Finally, it also lubricates the skin to facilitate the passage of the baby through the pelvis during childbirth. And even if the ᴠᴇʀɴɪx ᴄᴀsᴇᴏsᴀ is not very aesthetic, its role is just as important two or three days after the birth of the baby. Moreover, given its protective role, doctors and midwives advise leaving it on the skin after childbirth.
To show how quickly babies change after birth, Bryanna Field, an American photographer, compared the photos she took at a birth like everyone else. The young woman took a photo of a little girl five seconds after her birth and then another photo of her a few hours later to prove that the change is impressive. In the first photo, the little girl is still covered in ᴠᴇʀɴɪx ᴄᴀsᴇᴏsᴀ, her face contorted. The second photo was taken just an hour after giving birth. “I found the difference in this before/after completely incredible. It almost looks like it’s not the same baby in the second photo!”, explains the photographer.
Shots, Bryanna Field hopes that the contrast between the two photos will appeal to Internet users and also insists that it is completely normal for infants not to be perfect when they are born. “Many parents hope that their baby will be perfect at birth, but it’s far from being like that in real life and there’s nothing dramatic about that,” continues the photographer.