doctor consulting with a couple

By Dr Michelle LIM, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

By week 33, most mummies-to-be will start imagining what it's like to welcome their baby — but what happens to the baby during delivery?

How Does the Baby Exit the Womb?

As the baby slides out of the birth canal, the skull will compress a little bit to make things easier for you. That's why a baby's skull feels a tad soft if you touch it after birth. Don't worry about the process hurting the baby! A baby's skull is built to be flexible, and eventually the skull will harden up and the initial "tiled" appearance will resolve.

How Does the Baby Move During Childbirth?

As labour begins, your baby will try to help you along by pressing the head to the birth canal. Your little one may also twist and turn within the womb to find the easiest way out. Once the widest part of the body is out — that's the head — the rest of the body will usually slide out easily.

What Can the Baby See or Hear?

Your baby is likely to hear what's going on outside of the womb during childbirth. As for your newborn's eyesight, vision is generally blurry. However, with time, babies will be able to recognise familiar facial features.

What is a Caesarean Section Like for the Baby?

A baby delivered via Caesarean section may breathe faster and shallower compared to a baby delivered by vaginal birth. This is because contractions within the womb actually help expel fluids from the lungs, so a Caesarean section delivered baby may have to breathe harder and faster until the fluid is reabsorbed. These symptoms will usually go away within 24 to 48 hours.

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