BSIP, LECA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP, LECA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Childbirth. Baby emerging from the birth canal during childbirth. The baby is being supported by its mother's hand and an obstetrician wearing sterile gloves (lower right). It is covered with white vernix, a deposit composed of fatty secretions and dead cells. This is thought to protect the baby's skin and insulate it from heat loss before birth. Vernix also lubricates the passage of the baby through the birth canal (vagina). Childbirth usually occurs at between 38 and 42 weeks into pregnancy.
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