It is common for infants to be born with unique facial features that quickly transform in their first hour of life. A mother recently shared a photo on Twitter of her baby just one hour after birth, highlighting the remarkable change in the baby’s appearance.
When hatchlings are born, they typically appear red, wrinkled, and are covered in a yellowish fluid called vernix caseosa. This substance, which is made up of peeling surface skin cells and debris from the amniotic fluid, covers the fetus’s skin throughout gestation and serves a crucial function during pregnancy and birth. The vernix caseosa creates a protective, impermeable coating on the fetus’s skin by producing an adhesive layer on the epidermis. This layer helps shield the fetus’s skin from the potentially harmful effects of being constantly bathed in amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Apart from its role in connecting the developing fetus to the placenta, the umbilical cord also serves as a natural waterproof barrier, protecting the newborn from external factors after delivery. Additionally, it provides lubrication to the skin, which can help the baby’s passage through the pelvis during delivery. Although the vernix caseosa may not be visually appealing, its function remains crucial even after two or three days following the birth of the infant. In fact, medical professionals such as physicians and midwives often advise keeping the vernix caseosa on the newborn’s skin after delivery, given its protective properties. This can help prevent dryness and irritation of the skin, reduce the risk of infection, and aid in regulating the infant’s body temperature. Therefore, while it may not look appealing, the vernix caseosa plays a vital role in the health and well-being of the newborn.
Bryanna Field, a photographer from the United States, aimed to highlight how quickly newborns transform by taking pictures during and after delivery. She captured two images of a baby girl shortly after her birth, with a five-second interval between them. The first photograph shows the newborn with a distorted face, and her skin is covered with the yellowish x ss, which is a mixture of peeling skin cells and debris from the amniotic fluid. In the second image, taken just a few hours later, the infant looks remarkably different, with smoother skin and a more recognizable facial appearance. Field notes that the contrast between the before and after images is striking, and it is difficult to believe that it is the same baby in both photos.
Bryanna Field, an American photographer, believes that the striking contrast between the two photographs she captured during the same delivery will capture the attention of online audiences. She contends that it is entirely natural for newborns to have imperfections, and that many parents may have unrealistic expectations about their baby’s appearance at birth. According to Field, “It’s common for parents to expect their newborn to be flawless, but the reality is that this is rarely the case, and there’s nothing extraordinary about it.” She hopes that her photographs will help parents and the general public understand that newborns go through rapid changes in the first few hours and days of life, and that imperfections are part of the normal developmental process.