Adaptation of the newborn to extrauterine life

Adaptation of the newborn to extrauterine life

At the end of pregnancy, the baby leaves the mother's womb and meets a new world for him: extrauterine life. He has to adapt to new living conditions from the first seconds of life. A test of resistance quite severe for a being so dumb! The changes are many, we have to do and it has to do with great times!

Passage of the fetus into the extrauterine environment

In the intrauterine cavity or in the mother's womb, the fetus had absolutely everything she needed and everything was very simple. It was all warm and well, a safe and pleasant environment for him. With birth, the fetus evolves to a new stage - newborn. He no longer receives food and oxygen through the umbilical cord and finds himself having to breathe alone and feed himself by doing something for it.

He has to suck, swallow and breathe to receive food, which is something completely new to him. He is also now required to adjust and adjust his body temperature to the new environment, which is no longer as warm and comfortable as his mother's tummy.

The newborn is bombarded by new factors: noises, lights, touches and many more that create a state of anxiety and anxiety. He's scared and doesn't know what's going on with him. The only things that give her the feeling of safety and protection are her mother's voice and smell.

How does the newborn adapt to extrauterine life?

The adaptation takes place in all the organs of the child. Each of them goes through changes designed to help him cope with the new world.


The first thing to adjust is breathing. The fetus received oxygen in the mother's womb and was helped to breathe through the placenta. Once the umbilical cord is cut and the fetus is removed from the placenta, the child has to breathe alone. Loss of contact with the placenta also represents the rapid slowing down of the metabolism, the most important function of the body.

The baby will breathe on its own within a few seconds after giving birth because the central nervous system reacts rapidly to changes in environment and temperature and puts the lungs into operation. After the baby manages to breathe in the chest after birth, the entire circulatory and pulmonary system begins to change.

Body temperature

The second problem and an important test regarding the adaptation of the newborn to the extrauterine environment is the regulation of body temperature. In the mother's womb the fetus lives in a very warm environment. When it is born it starts to lose the heat it used to be.

Basically it is found in a very cold and unknown environment. Then the central nervous system begins to function, the receptors in the brain transmit the message that it is cold, and the body begins to create heat by burning a special fat found only in newborns: brown fat.

Renal activity

The renal activity of the newborn is diminished in the first days after birth. The baby will urinate very small quantities and very few times immediately after birth. But it is absolutely necessary to urinate in the first 24 hours of life.

If not, it may even have a relative kidney failure, which leads to water retention and kidney problems. Under normal conditions the kidneys adapt rapidly and manage to balance the level of electrolytes and fluids in the body.


In the intrauterine cavity, most of the functions of the fetus liver are performed by the mother. Therefore, after the birth of the child's liver, he goes through a "shock" because he has to take over many unprepared functions:

  • waste decomposition;
  • the secretion of substances that coagulate the blood;
  • the production of the protein that breaks down bilirubin.

They develop and adapt over time to the new rhythm of operation.

Immune system

The immune system develops hard and long term after birth, even in a few years. Therefore, it is very poorly developed in newborns and can easily become a target for germs and infections.

But doctors say that their body can effectively fight many of the bacteria and viruses it comes into contact with because it is endowed with antibodies from the mother and will then receive enough breastfeeding to contribute to the development of immunity.

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