1. It Doesn’t Actually Start With Your Very First Breath

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You might think that life officially begins that moment you take your very first breath when out of the womb – but your first breath isn’t actually the starting step! This is because there are actually many important preparations that need to take place in the womb, to make sure you can actually take that first breath!

2. The Changes To Help You Survive Begin Before That, In The Womb

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The changes needed for your tiny baby body to be able to begin breathing and come out of the womb healthily actually start while you’re still in the womb. These changes continue to happen for a long time after you’ve been born, too. So it’s like you’re being prepped for what’s going to happen.

3. Your Body Suddenly Has To Decide What To Do Without The Placenta

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One of the biggest considerations the body has to make is how you’re going to cope without the placenta. In the womb, this is what enabled you to survive and get all your nutrients. Outside the womb, the placenta isn’t going to help anymore. Your tiny little body needs to take over what the placenta was doing – so it’s prepping for that.

4. Your Body Has To Adapt From Underwater To Land

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It sounds very weird when it’s put like this, but your body literally has to go from being an underwater creature to a land-based one! And you need to adapt to land very, very quickly. When you were in the womb, you were immersed in fluid and you got oxygen from the placenta – so now you need to feel fresh air…

5. And You Need To Start Breathing That Air!

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With the placenta no longer supplying you with a healthy dose of oxygen from your mother, your body is now faced with the reality that it needs to start manually breathing in air from the environment. This is the first important process that needs to happen when you’re born.

6. You’re Covered In ‘Vernix’ – Which Protects You Against Fluid

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When you’re born, you’re covered in fluid and blood, but you’re also covered in a substance called vernix. The vernix was what covered your body in the womb to help protect you from all that time submerged in fluid – and now that you’re out, you don’t need that anymore.

7. Your Skin Might Be Cracked

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As we know from spending far too long in a bubble bath, your skin can start to look cracked, weird and scaly – this can also happen to your body while you’re submerged in fluid in the women, even with the vernix protecting you, so when you’re born, you might look a tad.. peeled.

8. You Need A Lot More Oxygen Than You Did In The Womb

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Faced with the reality of breathing on your own, you of course need oxygen – but you actually need a whole lot more than you did when you were inside the womb, getting oxygen from the placenta. When you’re a fetus, you need a low level of oxygen that’s given through the circulatory system.

9. Your Lungs Need To Kick In – Stat!

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So now that you need a heck of a lot more oxygen, and you need to do it through manual breathing, the first thing to happen is that your lungs need to kick in, pronto! When you’re born, your central nervous system then tells your lungs that they need to inflate quickly.

10. Your Body Will Then Have Taken Its First Command Of Its Own!

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Your lungs will then (hopefully, of course) obey the command, and you’ll begin to inhale and exhale. This will also be the very first command that your body will hear and obey from the central nervous system, or the brain – working on its own steam – which is pretty amazing!

11. That’s Also Why A Crying Baby Can Be Fantastic News

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Although the sound of a screaming, crying baby can be one of the most.. shall we say, difficult sounds on the planet, it’s great news if you’re crying at the top of your lungs – literally, because it means your lungs have done their job and you have a healthy pair of them starting to kick in!

12. You Might Actually Get Jaundice

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So when you start breathing, this also begins the normal process of your body taking in the good stuff, and expelling waste products. Your liver is key to organizing what’s waste, but the liver can take a lot longer to kick in compared to the lungs. This can mean you might get jaundice while the liver sorts itself out.

13. And It’s More Likely You’ll Get Jaundice If You’re Premature

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Jaundice will manifest as a yellowing of the skin and the eyes, and it’s more likely that you’ll develop jaundice as a newborn baby if you’re premature. It’s around 60% of full-term babies that are likely to get jaundice, and around 80% of premature babies likely to get it.

14. But Your Body Will Correct This On Its Own

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Although this might sound worrying to get jaundice very quickly as a newborn, it’s actually nothing to worry about, because your body will sort this out on its own once the liver starts to function normally. Of course, there might be rare cases it’s something more serious, but in most cases it won’t need any treatment.

15. Your Digestive System Kicks In – You Need Food In Your Mouth!

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In the womb, you got all your nutrients through the placenta – now that you’re out, something needs to change! Not only does your digestive system kick in to consume food a different way, you’ll have an overwhelming need to eat food directly through your mouth rather than the way you did in the womb!

16. In The Womb, Your Digestive System Hadn’t Been Used Yet

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In the womb, your digestive system – from mouth to butt – would have been developing at its own pace, while you were happily taking in all your nutrients from the placenta. But you never would have used your digestive system at all within the womb – and that all changes the second you’re born, of course.

17. And What Happens Next? You Need To Poop Of Course

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And with all the joys of a digestive system of course comes… the waste product. You would never have needed to poop in the womb (thank god) because it wasn’t that kind of deal. Now that you’re using your digestive system, your body will start to get acquainted with the feeling of needing to poop.

18. And You Actually Need To Get Rid Of Waste You Had When You Were Still In The Womb!

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While you might think needing to poop is a new thing from the food you’ve consumed outside of the womb, you’ll actually be playing catch up from a small amount of waste product that built up towards the end of the last trimester. This waste is called meconium.

19. Meconium Is Different To Regular Poop

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Meconium is the small amount of waste built up in your bowels whilst in the womb, as a result of the placenta nutrients. Meconium looks black, and it doesn’t have a smell to it. So, as you can tell, it’s very different to the normal poop you’ll get accustomed to now that you’re born – or rather, the people changing your diapers will!

20. Your Urinary System Will Take Over The Placenta’s Job

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In the womb, the placenta was working hard to do everything your body couldn’t do yet – which includes the waste products, urinary or otherwise. When you’re born, your urinary system has the very important job of taking over what the placenta was doing – which means it’s time to prepare for pee!

21. But It’ll Take Some Time For Your Kidneys To Start Working Properly

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Your kidneys play an important role in your urinary system, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be ready to work straight away. It will take a little time for them to function at top speed, and you can expect them to continue to develop even 2 weeks after you’ve actually been born.

22. You’ll Start To Pee – Lots

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Your kidneys will soon be near enough ready to go – or at least be working at a very good capacity. This means it’s time to pee. Urine is actually a very important part of the being born situation, because urine is there to replace what the amniotic sac fluid was doing for you in the womb.

23. But This Won’t Actually Be The First Time You’ve Peed

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You actually would have been producing urine from around 9 to 12 weeks of being inside the womb – which means your first pee after being born won’t be your first ever pee! Your kidneys will still have developed in the womb, enough to release urine – which is then sent into the amniotic sac.

24. Your Pee Actually Became A Huge Part Of The Amniotic Sac

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Because the urine released by the kidneys inside the womb was then released into the amniotic sac and fluid protecting and cushioning your tiny body, the urine actually became a source of amniotic fluid in itself, built to protect you before you were born.

25. You Might Lose Hair On Your Body

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It doesn’t sound fair to lose hair before you’ve even started, does it? But that’s exactly what can happen. Every baby is born with something called lanugo, which is unpigmented hair all over your body. After you’ve been born, you’ll begin to shed this lanugo hair.

26. And You Might Even Have Hair Loss On Your Head!

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Some babies can be born completely bald, while others can come out with a full head of hair. No matter how many tiny strands of hair you have your head, you can also start to lose this, too, after being born – and it’s completely normal! It can happen after birth for the first six months.

27. Your Body Temperature Will Plummet

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It makes sense when it was nice and toasty inside the womb and now you’re out in an air-conditioned hospital room. When you were still inside the womb, you were warm 24/7. Outside of the womb, your body heat would be twice that of a normal adult if your body didn’t decide it needed to cool down a bit.

28. And That’s Why Someone Might Put A Little Cap On Your Head!

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We’ve all seen newborn babies with those adorable caps on their head, but it’s more than just for aesthetics – as cute as it looks! The caps are actually there to help with the temperature changes, because as your temperature starts to drop, you need to learn how to generate your own heat – and things like caps and booties can help!

29. Your Immune System Is Underdeveloped

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In the womb you were of course protected from all those nasty outside germs like cold and flu – outside of the womb, you now have to fend for yourself. But your immune system isn’t fully developed just yet. This means the second you’re out, you can be exposed to a whole lot of germs without being ready to fight them off.

30. Your Digestive ‘Flora’ Starts To Multiply

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Digestive flora is the name giving to the microorganisms in your gut, like bacteria and enzymes. This flora is key for good health and functioning – so it’s no surprise that, after your born, this flora starts to increase and multiply so that you can develop healthily.