The Umbilical Cord

December 02, 2017 07:10 PM

The Umbilical Cord

December 02, 2017 07:10 PM

The umbilical cord is the main source of oxygen and nourishment for the fetus during pregnancy. It has one vein and two arteries. The vein carries blood rich in oxygen to the baby, while the arteries transport waste from the baby to the placenta.

 

Important Facts about the Umbilical Cord:

  • The umbilical cord is 50 to 60 centimeters long during the final month of pregnancy.
  • The placenta and umbilical cord prevent the blood of the mother and the fetus from mixing.
  • As the pregnancy progresses, only 5% of the umbilical cord changes. The remaining part of the cord will take a spiral shape.
  • A common complication during pregnancy, the umbilical cord sometimes gets wrapped around the fetus’s neck. This is dangerous for the fetus, as oxygen would not be carried properly.
  • An umbilical cord is sturdy and the doctor will use scissors to cut it off.
  • The vein and arteries remain protected from clamping, as they are wrapped within a jelly-like fluid.
  • Babies do not feel pain when the doctor cuts the umbilical cord, as it does not contain nerve cells.
  • The umbilical cord stump usually takes up to ten days to dry up and fall off, after gradually changing color. The belly button remains as a symbol of this cord.

 

How Do you Take Care of the Umbilical Cord Stump?

  • At each diaper change, use alcohol swabs, or any other antiseptic recommended by a doctor, to disinfect the area, while keeping the area sterile, dry, and clean.
  • When changing a diaper, avoid covering the area around the stump and do not cover the stump with the diaper, in order to ventilate the area.
  • Resist the temptation to remove the stump, even if it is on the verge of falling; let it fall off by itself.
  • To prevent infection, avoid placing your child in a bath tub. Clean the area gently with sponge so that it heals faster.
  • Once the stump has fallen off, monitor the belly button for signs such as redness, gnarly smells, secretion of yellow substances, or bleeding around the area. If any of these symptoms occur, consult with your doctor immediately. If you notice dry blood forming around the area, do not worry; it is normal.
  • Umbilical granuloma can sometimes emerge in the belly button after the stump falls off. It is a moist red tissue and usually heals within a week. If it persists for longer, visit your doctor.
  • If the stump does not fall off within four weeks after birth, you must check with a doctor. This can be an indication of problems with the immune system or an anatomical defect.

 

References:

www.ncbi.nlm.nlh.gov

www.babygaga.com

www.nhs.uk