Doctor: Viral video of newborn 'walking' is normal
Last week, a video of a newborn baby "walking" went viral on Facebook:
The video, which amassed over 90 million views, was captioned in Portuguese, "This is amazing. A baby walks just after being born."
The Daily Mail reported that the scene, from Brazil, started when the midwife tried to wash the baby. "Merciful father. I was trying to wash her here and she keeps getting up to walk," she said.
While the sight seems like a miracle, doctors explained to Health that it's actually normal. What the baby was doing was actually one of its primitive reflexes. Other examples are sucking when the roof of their mouth is touched and clutching their first when their palm is stroked.
The reflex displayed in the video is called the step reflex, where babies take "steps" when held upright up to the first two months of life. If their upper body is supported, it simulates the weightless feeling of the womb.
"It's up for debate why this reflex occurs, but some experts say it's to develop lower limb muscles that they'll later use for independent, and conscious, walking," Daniela Corbetta, PhD, director of the Infant Perception-Action Laboratory at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, told Health.
Corbetta said, "This is very far from being able to walk."
Megan Heere, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Temple University and medical director at Temple's Well Baby Nursery, agreed. "If anything," she told Health, "this video really highlights the reflex and is a good example of what normal babies do."
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