Welcome to ParentWeb! Learn more

Vernix Caseosa
What is Vernix Caseosa?

Vernix Caseosa refers to the substance that’s beginning to coat your baby’s skin this week. From the Latin words vernix meaning, “varnish,” and caseosa meaning, “cheesy,” this protective substance is secreted by your baby’s sebaceous glands. As the Latin names reflect, the coating is a white, cheesy substance made up of oil and sloughed off skin cells. Though it sounds pretty nasty, this coating is very important.

First, it protects your baby’s skin from becoming chapped. You’re wrinkly after an hour in the tub—imagine how wrinkly your baby would be after nine months in amniotic fluid without vernix caseosa! Doctors have discovered there are proteins in the oils that have antibiotic properties, protecting your baby from infection. They’ve also discovered that the vernix serves to clean the skin in the womb and actually does a better job than a store-bought cleanser. Finally, having a greasy substance on your baby should help ease the way down the birth canal.

If your baby is born full-term, he or she will probably be only partially coated with vernix. When the lungs are developed, they release a chemical that triggers the production of more amniotic fluid. It’s interesting to note that the vernix layer begins to disengage at this point, which is why pre-term babies tend to be covered with vernix, while full-term babies have less.

General Introduction to Pregnancy
Your Changing Body + Pregnancy
Your Baby’s Development
Potential Pregnancy Complications
Labor and Delivery
View all 
General Introduction to Parenting
Child Nutrition
Childcare and Education
Sleep in the Early Years
Baby Milestones
View all 


Expecting a baby or new to parenting? We're here to help!
Join our community and find support, get answers to questions and make friends from all over the world!


Want to stay informed on news from ParentWeb?

Get useful advice, information, and practical parenting tips from ParentWeb in your email inbox every week!


Follow your baby's growth, right from your desktop!
Our Baby Tracker lets you learn more about what's happening each week - from pregnancy to


Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


Track your baby's progress -
the quick, fun and easy way!
Get your FREE ParentWeb Baby ticker!

About Us       |       Contact Us       |       Forum       |       Affiliates       |       Site Map       |       Terms of Use       |       Privacy Policy
 Copyright © 2010 ParentWeb Inc. All rights reserved.