The transition from the fetal to the neonatal stage is often called the fourth trimester. This is also the time when you embrace parenthood, while your baby adjusts to extra-uterine life. The unborn child grows in a quiet, warm environment, surrounded by amniotic fluid. The placenta provides the required oxygen and food. Once they enter the noisy and chaotic world, the body starts making drastic changes at the cellular level.
This helps babies adapt to their new life and come to terms with light, stimulation and movements. About 10 seconds post-birth, your baby will take their first breath, leading to circulatory reconfiguration. Over the next three months, the little human slowly turns into an individual with a personality. Take a look at the changes to expect after welcoming your baby home.
Trust Building Outside the Womb
One of the different levels of neonatal care is to help the baby overcome the unsettling situation of being outside the womb. They are unlikely to know the difference between day and night. Also, newborns tend to sleep 14 to 17 hours daily. You will need to ensure they are comfortable and get the sleep they require. At this point, the infant can see up to 40 centimeters and hear voices. Be gentle around them, and do not expose them to excessively bright lights or loud sounds. Besides offering nutrition, ensure gentle touches, singing lullabies, or smiling at them from within their field of vision.
Seeking Help from the NICU
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) offers specialized treatment to ailing or premature babies. This unit is equipped to handle serious conditions, such as respiratory disorders, birth defects and heart diseases in the newborn. Highly trained pediatricians, neonatologists and medical staff work towards improving the chances of survival. If your baby is less than 2.2 kilograms or over 3.6 kilograms in weight, they might also require newborn intensive care.A few of the other reasons why your baby may be admitted to NICU are maternal issues, such as STDs, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or drug exposure. Therefore, to help the baby kickstart their new life in a safe and healthy manner, understand the circulatory, respiratory and gastrointestinal adjustments a baby makes in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Thermoregulatory Changes in the Baby
Babies tend to lose heat about four times faster than adults. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the temperature changes post-birth. The external world is comparatively cooler, since the womb temperature is usually 37°C. The ability to regulate body heat develops gradually. However, through non-shivering thermogenesis, the body breaks down “brown fat” upon exposure to the cold, thus generating heat. This explains why you wrap a baby well for minimal exposure of the outside world.
Once the baby is born, there are tons of changes in the blood vessels, lung pressure and kidney functions. Additionally, you will notice them sleeping, drinking milk, and crying quite a bit. These are ways that help them stay relaxed, communicate, and survive outside the womb comfortably.