If you're anything like me, you probably didn't buy into the whole magical vibe of pregnancy and childbirth. I never got the famed glow — the closest I came to that was the copious amount of sweat on my face after heaving. And my birthing experience wasn't exactly a Kodak moment either. So it's not too surprising to discover the gross things babies do in their first hour on Earth. Sure, you are probably familiar with the many disgusting things you'll encounter as a new parent — like explosive diarrhea, spit up, and inexplicable stickiness — but it's amazing how much tiny humans can accomplish in their first 60 minutes.
These bizarre feats aren't exactly covered in your prenatal classes, pregnancy books, or during conversations with fellow moms-to-be. But there's nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to the human body. Bodily fluids, strange sounds, and messy accidents are all a part of being a mammal. Still, it's nice to feel prepared for what happens after delivering so you won't be too shocked when your precious newborn does some pretty disgusting things. So, whether this is going to be your first child or you're third, check out these gross things babies do in their first hour on Earth to gain some new insight.
1. They Still Draw From Their Cord
While your baby is developing inside of you, they get their nutrients through the umbilical cord. It goes from your placenta to their soon-to-be belly button. As family physician Dr. Allan Bruckheim told The Chicago Tribune, at birth the umbilical cord carries oxygen-filled blood and nutrients from the placenta to the baby. So, even when you eventually clamp and cut the cord, your newborn still reaps the benefits of the blood.
2. They Appear To Puke
Moments after your child exits the womb, they will take their first breath. Prior to that, though, it can actually look like they're puking. But don't worry, it's not what it seems. According to the official site for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the baby's lungs are filled with amniotic fluid when they're born. So, in order for them to take in air, they have to expel the liquid in their lungs first.
3. They Pass Weird Poop
Bowel movements, in general, are gross. But, your newborn's very first one is particularly unique. According to Parents, your little one's initial stool contains, "materials your baby ingested in-utero, like skin cells that have been shed, mucus, amniotic fluid, bile, water, and lanugo, which is the fine, soft hair that covers baby's body." Thankfully, this odd composition doesn't last long and goes away within a few days.
4. They Burn Brown Fat
If you've ever watched a medical or health-related television show, then you've probably seen that fatty tissue looks yellow. But did you know that your newborn has brown fat? According to the NIH's site, this special cushioning, called brown adipose tissue, is, "a type of fat found only in fetuses and newborns." What exactly does your little one do with this brown fat in their first hour outside the womb? Since the outside world is significantly colder than your cozy uterus, newborns immediately start burning their brown fat to stay warm, as NIH noted. It may be icky to imagine squishy, brown fatty tissue, but it plays a vital role.
5. They Use That Cheesy Substance
One of the things that always grossed me out about childbirth is how babies are covered in this waxy, cheesy substance. As it turns out, that goop is important and has a less-yucky name. "Vernix caseosa protects the newborn skin and facilitates extra-uterine adaptation," according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Basically, newborns rely on that coating in their first few hours. As the NCBI noted, vernix caseosa is a lubricant for delivery, keeps their skin hydrated, acts as a barrier against germs, and even helps your baby recognize you by smell. So you might even decided to delay their first bath now that you know what that cheesy substance is.