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Lifestyle

Did you know? This is why babies cry immediately after birth

Did you know? This is why babies cry immediately after birth

The moment a newborn comes into life, their first cry marks an incredible milestone. But why do babies cry immediately after birth? To understand this instinctive behavior, we need to delve into the physiological, psychological and environmental factors that cause this decisive act.

Physiological reasons behind the first cry

The First Breath of Life
A baby's first cry is usually associated with their first breath. Inside the womb, a baby relies on the umbilical cord to receive oxygen-rich blood from the placenta. However, at birth, the baby must transition to independent breathing. This transition includes:

Clearing fluid from the lungs: During pregnancy, the lungs are filled with amniotic fluid. At birth, the crying process helps expel this fluid, allowing the lungs to inflate and facilitate air intake.

Activating the respiratory system: Crying starts the baby's respiratory system, expanding the lungs and allowing oxygen to flow into the bloodstream.

Changes in the Circulatory System
A newborn's circulatory system also needs to adapt at birth. Before birth, the baby's blood bypasses the lungs via the ductus arteriosus and the foramen ovale, the two fetal blood vessels. The first call helps close these pathways and redirects blood to flow through the lungs, enabling efficient oxygen exchange.

Stimuli from delivery
The birth process itself, whether through natural vaginal delivery or caesarean section, offers a number of stimuli that can trigger crying:

Temperature changes: Sudden exposure to a cooler outdoor environment can shock a baby's system, causing a cry as their body adjusts.

Physical sensations: Contact with air, touch and gravity creates a cascade of new sensations for the baby after the closed and warm environment of the womb.

Treatment by medical staff: Routine postpartum procedures such as suctioning the airway or clamping the umbilical cord can cause discomfort, leading to crying.

Psychological and emotional aspects

From the very beginning, crying is the primary means of communication for a newborn. The first cry reassures medical staff and parents that the baby's lungs are working well, creating an immediate emotional bond. This early form of communication lays the groundwork for the baby's later ability to express hunger, discomfort, and other needs.

Stress and relief
Childbirth is a challenging and stressful process for a child, requiring extraordinary physiological adaptations. Crying after birth can serve as a stress release, a way for the baby to adjust emotionally to the sudden and overwhelming change in the environment.

Medical Perspectives on First Call

Newborn health assessment

The first cry serves as an important indicator of the overall health of the baby. Medical professionals often look for a loud, sustained cry, which suggests that the respiratory system is working well and the baby has good muscle tone.

APGAR Score
A newborn's crying is part of the APGAR score, a rapid assessment tool used to assess a baby's condition shortly after birth. It measures five criteria: Appearance (skin color), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex response), Activity (muscle tone) and Respiration (breathing effort). A loud cry has a positive effect on grimace and breathing scores, indicating that the baby is adjusting well to life outside the womb.

Conditions affecting the first cry

Sometimes, babies don't cry right away because of specific medical conditions. This may be due to prematurity, difficulty clearing lung fluid, or birth complications that require medical intervention. In such cases, the absence of a cry does not necessarily indicate long-term health problems.