Newborn Care: What Is Vernix Caseosa?

What is vernix?

No, your newborn isn’t dirty! That’s vernix caseosa, a powerfully protective, “water proof” coating that covers baby’s skin in utero and prevents heat loss after birth.

Vernix can aid in the passage through the birth canal and act as a physical barrier against bacteria. It’s also theorized that vernix helps in the development of healthy microbiota for your babe.

So we don’t need to rush to wash it off. More and more evidence-based birth facilities are significantly delaying baby’s first bath or not offering it at all.

When you are holding your newborn baby some of the vernix might also get onto your own skin. You don’t need to wash that off either! Think of it as some extra moisturizer that is good for your skin too. Just rub it right in.

Ask your postpartum doula about all the benefits.

Did your newborn baby have vernix on her skin at birth?

About Amy Lewis

Amy is the co-owner of Buddha Belly. She is passionate about assisting women through life's most challenging transitions and nurtures a lifelong commitment to women in serving mothers as a doula. She is certified by ProDoula as a labor doula, postpartum and infant care doula and postpartum specialist. She was certified by the Healthy Children Project and the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice as a lactation counselor and is a birth, newborn and breastfeeding educator. > keep reading

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