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What Does The Baby Feel During Its Birth?

By Devika

When in labour, we do know how a woman feels. The account of pregnancy and labour can very easily be known from the words of a woman who has gone through it. But, have you ever wondered what a child would be experiencing during the process of birthing? Read on to get an idea of how an infant experiences birth.

  • Does The Baby Feel Any Pain During Birthing?
  • How Does The Baby Breathe Right After Birth?
  • Adjusting To The Outside Temperature After Birth
  • Will The Baby Be Able To Hear And See Immediately After Birth?
  • How Does A Baby Born Through C-section Feel?

Does The Baby Feel Any Pain During Birthing?

Some doctors are of the opinion that newborn babies do feel some amount of pain. However, the exact amount of pain is still unknown.

For instance, if a surgical procedure is performed immediately post birth, then the baby does feel some pain. Similarly, it is also likely that the baby might feel some pain when he or she goes through the birth canal.

However, the pain that the mother goes through is completely different from what the baby goes through. The pain that the baby feels might be something like that of squeezing through a very tight space. It would be similar to a feeling of compression.

How Does The Baby Breathe Right After Birth?

Labour is a process that both the mother and the to-be-born child goes through. The mechanical and physiological changes that happen during labour prepare the baby to be subjected to the outside air.

According to a clinical instructor of ob-gyn in Boston, a foetus is not able to get oxygen from the air. Hence, he or she has to receive it from his or her mother. When in the womb, oxygen is supplied via the placenta to the baby inside.

However, when the baby is delivered and the umbilical cord is clamped, the placenta stops doing the oxygen transfer. After the birth of the baby, the lungs take over this task.

When inside the womb, the foetus' lungs comprise a fluid that keeps them mature. However, after delivery, this fluid becomes dry making the lungs expand, eventually filling them with air post birth.

After the birth of the baby, the lungs also begin pumping more blood. When in the womb, the blood bypasses the organs due to the pressure inside. When birthing happens, the pressure in the lungs drop and the blood keeps flowing normally.

Adjusting To The Outside Temperature After Birth

When inside the womb, the baby would be adapted to a temperature of about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. So, how do you think the baby who is delivered in a delivery room having a temperature of about 70 degrees would adjust?

Well, the responsible organ for this is the thyroid. When birthing happens, a baby's thyroid levels are extremely high. The surge of the thyroid level is due to the exposure to extreme cold and an increased level of adrenaline.

When the thyroid levels are elevated, heat is generated from a specific type of fat, known as "brown fat". This is what helps a newborn regulate its body temperature when it's out of the womb.

Will The Baby Be Able To Hear And See Immediately After Birth?

Quite like the question whether the baby feels any pain during birthing, the answer to the question as to what the baby can see or hear post delivery also remains unanswered.

Nevertheless, some research has made it possible to establish that newborns do have some auditory skills before they come into this world. It is believed that babies can recognize their mother's voice from what they have heard from inside the womb. This is what makes the mother-child's bond extra special and integral.

However, it's difficult to know the eyesight power of a newborn. It is although known that the child's vision is blurry initially and a baby is unable to focus well during his early days post birth.

A baby can detect his or her mother's facial features when held around 8 to 15 inches away from the face (technically the distance that would be at the breast level where the baby usually feeds). This further serves to be another important element of bonding between the mother and the child.

How Does A Baby Born Through C-section Feel?

The birthing process between C-section and vaginally differs not just for the mother but also for the child who experiences either the vaginal birthing or C-section delivery.

One of the obvious answers is that a baby who can squeeze through the birthing canal would have pinched-looking head, unlike the ones born through a C-section, who usually have a round and less-pinched looking head.

For a vaginal birth, when the mother is in labour, the child does his or her best to push through the birth canal. To begin the dilation of the cervix, the baby's head presses into the birth canal. Babies also keep twisting and turning themselves to help find themselves the best route out. Once the head is out, the rest of the labour moves smoothly.

Most of the babies born vaginally have a misshapen head. This is usually due to the birthing process. Nevertheless, even the most conical head returns to normal within a few days.

A baby born out of C-section has a breathing that is faster and shallower than that of a baby born through normal delivery. The reason behind this is the contractions that happen in the mother's womb during the period of labour. Also, during labour, the baby's chest also compresses when passing through the birth canal. Both these, in turn, help in expelling the fluid out of the baby's lungs.

A baby born via C-section could also have something known as transient tachypnea (wet lung). This makes the baby breathe very fast till the fluid is completely absorbed. This issue would resolve on its own within a period of 24 to 48 hours.

The birthing process can be an overwhelming experience not just for the mother or the baby but for the entire family. Research shows that giving birth in a calm environment makes the baby calmer. Also, a skin-to-skin contact between the mother and the baby just post delivery can ensure a strong bonding between the two.

Read more about: baby delivery