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When we talk about childbirth and the important changes it entails, we almost always focus on the sensations and events that take place in the mother's body, but we often forget that childbirth is a matter of two, that when a woman gives birth , a baby is born, and that for this second protagonist the changes are even greater. These are the main changes of the baby at birth.
The baby goes from being inside the womb, where all the inputs it receives are filtered by the mother's body, to the outside world, where nothing filters the stimuli and he begins to depend on himself to breathe and survive (in a way).
The most important change that conditions adaptation to the outside world is that which occurs at the cardiorespiratory level. In the uterus, the organ responsible for supplying oxygen to the blood and eliminating carbon dioxide is the placenta, while the lungs are filled with fluid.
As it passes through the birth canal and the chest is 'compressed', part of that fluid is expelled, and with the baby's first breath, the lungs fill with air and pulmonary circulation is established, which until then was minimal. From then on, the lungs will be responsible for supplying oxygen to the blood and eliminating carbon dioxide.
This change from placental circulation to pulmonary circulation occurs physiologically in the first minutes of life, and causes the newborn's vascular system to change gradually: during the fetal period, there are three communications between venous and arterial blood to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen to the most important organs.
These communications are the ductus arteriosus, the ductus venosus and the foramen ovale, and with the change in depressions that occurs with the first breaths, they progressively stop working. If the cord is clamped early (before it stops beating), this change will be more abrupt and the adaptation of the baby more costly.
The baby's brain also changes at birth. Not only because it has to adapt to the birth canal (the baby's skull is moldable because all the bones are not fused yet, so sometimes they come out with a somewhat crushed or crooked head), but because it begins to receive a lot of stimuli that until then were muffled: light, temperature, noise, touch, gravity…. Depending on how the delivery was, the adaptation to this circumstance will be different.
At the moment of birth, the baby has a high dose of adrenaline and cortisol, stress hormones necessary for its adaptation to the extrauterine world. Therefore the newborn is often awake and alert for the first hours of life. Little by little he must return to balance and a state of calm, and where he will most easily achieve this is on his mother's breast.
From there you will perceive that the world is a friendly place, and that you can remain calm and safe. It is their natural environment, where a baby hopes to be, where they feel safe and know they can survive. And this initial perception of the world will condition their way of adapting to the environment later.
In pregnancy, both the skin and the digestive tract of the baby are sterile, without bacteria; It is essential that the first bacteria that the baby comes into contact with are those of its mother, which are 'good bacteria' that will protect against future infections.
This intestinal microbiota will play a fundamental role in the development and maturation of the newborn's immune system. Colostrum, the first milk produced by the mother's breast after childbirth, is also vitally important for this.
After this first intake, the intestine must begin to 'function' and digest this food and expel waste substances. The first stool of the newborn is called 'meconium', and it is a dark green or black substance, which must be eliminated in the first 24 or 48 hours.
The liver also plays a fundamental role in the baby's extrauterine adaptationSince it will be in charge of keeping your blood glucose levels stable (storing or destroying glycogen), it participates in blood clotting and bilirubin metabolism.
Body temperature: the newborn can lose heat mainly through evaporation (they are born with the skin soaked in amniotic fluid), so it is important to dry it as soon as it is born and keep it in skin-to-skin contact with its mother, which will 'regulate temperature'. A baby separated from its mother will expend a great deal of energy to maintain its body temperature.
The skin It will appear covered by an oily substance called vermix, which helps prevent infection and maintain skin hydration.
The kidneys they will increase their work, so it is important to observe that the baby pees on the first day of life.
These changes most important changes that take place in the first moments of the baby's life, but throughout the first month of life many more occur. And all of them will be easier for the newborn if he feels safe and well cared for. Because as the famous neuropediatrician Nils Bergman says: 'Nothing in the life of the baby makes sense if it is not from the point of view of the mother's body'.
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