We have all probably seen those films when the mother labors through a delivery and is rewarded by the sight of her new baby, whom the doctor then promptly proceeds to slap. So why does the doctor slap or spank the child in this way when he or she is born?
Well fact is doctors don’t do this anymore. In earlier days it was done in order to clear the lungs and the airways as also the mouth of liquid. Since the baby has spent nine months in amniotic fluid its lungs are full of it.
Therefore the airways and lungs have to be cleared of fluid and mucus to enable the baby to take its first breath.
So this slapping or spanking of babies that was done in the old days was done not only to clear the air ways but also to stimulate a baby to cry.
What is done now is, the baby is rubbed down with a towel and if required, suction is applied to clear the airways and start the baby of his or her first breath of life.
Since now more gentle ways are available, spanking is not common.