Why Do Babies Have Swollen Genitals At Birth?

Babies of either gender may be born with what appears to be swollen and irritated genitals. This is thought to be caused by increased levels of female hormones while inside the uterus and also being immersed in amniotic fluid for a long time. Fluid may also accumulate in some areas with loose tissue, such as the vagina and labia, as well as in the baby’s face. However, it is completely okay if your baby is born looking puffy in some parts. 

Baby boys

Immediately after birth, baby boys often have swollen scrotums. This is normal and happens in many male babies. Treatment is not needed as the swelling goes away naturally. If you are concerned, have your doctor take a look.

Baby girls

It’s also normal for baby girls to have a swollen labia after birth. This can last several weeks and the swelling goes down naturally.

Additionally, pregnancy leads to elevated levels of estrogen in the mother and the baby acts upon these tissues, inducing edema and growth. The drop in hormone levels post-delivery means that these infants are no longer subject to hormonal effects, which reduces the swelling over a couple of weeks at most.

Female babies often have white or pink vaginal discharge, and this is just their body’s way of stabilizing after being dependent on her mother’s hormones. This, too, is normal and treatment is not needed. Several months after delivery the vaginal discharge should disappear as the exposure to the mother's hormones inside the uterus is dropping.

Treatment for swollen genitals or vaginal discharge

Genital swelling usually does not need any treatment and should not concern the parents. Simple observation when changing a diaper or when washing is enough.

Read More:
How-To Newborn Guide
Breastfeeding Guide
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