Vernix is theorized to serve several purposes, including moisturizing the infant's skin, and facilitating passage through the birth canal. It serves to conserve heat and protect the delicate newborn skin from environmental stress. Vernix is also thought to have an antibacterial effect; though there is little to support a chemical role of vernix in protecting the infant from infection, it may form a physical barrier to the passage of bacteria.
The vernix caseosa is the waxy looking white substance that covers your newborn baby. When you see videos of a birth on television, you may see the doctors wiping off the “dirty” looking baby. If you think that this is a good idea, you may want to reconsider. This substance, made up of the skin oil and dead cells that the baby has shed in the womb, helps protect him or her from dehydration. Without the vernix caseosa, the baby would be born wrinkly from constantly being exposed to amniotic … more