Human Growth and Development

Prenatal Developmentfetal Stage

What is the purpose of vernix and lanugo?

Vernix is a white, pasty, cheese-like coating on the skin consisting of fatty secretions from the sebaceous glands and dead epidermal cells. It protects the skin of the developing fetus. Lanugo is a very fine, silk-like or down-like hair that covers the skin. It may help to hold the vernix on the skin.

When a woman is pregnant, her circulatory system undergoes a remarkable metamorphosis to supply the fetus with nutrients. (From Pilliterri, Adele. Maternal and Child Nursing. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2003).

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