Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Umbilical Cord

share icon
share icon

What is Umbilical Cord?

The umbilical cord is a tube-like structure that acts as connectivity for the mother and baby. This cord helps to transport food, oxygen, and nutrients from the mother to the baby, which leads to the growth of the fetus. The other names of the umbilical cord are navel string or birth cord, or funiculus umbilicalis. It also helps to carry out the waste materials from the baby to the mom's home. From there, the mother can get rid of these waste materials. Usually, the nutrients can be transported to the baby using this tube from the placenta of the mom. 

Usually, the umbilical cord contains one vein and two arteries. All three perform specific functions. The vein of the umbilical cord helps to transport oxygen and nutrients from the mom to the baby. On the other hand, the arteries help collect the waste material from the baby and get rid of them through the kidneys of the mother. Both arteries and the vein were protected by a gelatin-like substance called Wharton's jelly. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Umbilical Cord After Birth

After delivery, when the mother gives birth to a baby, the newborn umbilical cord then comes off in between 10 to 14 days. In some cases, the umbilical cord falling off will happen around 21 days as maximum. If not, One needs to consult a doctor immediately. Doctors clamp and cut the umbilical cord from the baby after delivery. As the umbilical cord doesn't have any nerves, it may not give any feeling to both mother and baby. A half-size umbilical stump is left over from the baby's navel. It may fall off automatically. 


The umbilical cord stump will have a shiny structure with a pale yellow colour in the early stage. After a few days, the colour may turn into different colours like brown, grey or purple-blue, or even black when the umbilical cord is falling off. The colour may change due to the dryness of the cord. 

How to Take Care of the Umbilical Cord Stump?

Till the umbilical cord falls off, one should maintain proper umbilical cord care. Let's have a glance at field tips that help to take care of umbilical cord stumps. 

  • One should be gentle with the baby and the umbilical cord because the cord is very sensitive.

  • Should not put hands on the umbilical cord stump and never try to pull it out because it is a natural process.

  • It is always advisable to give sponge baths instead of putting the baby in a tub or a basin or any other showers.

  • Keep the umbilical cord clean and dry.

  • One should take care while wrapping diapers also.

These are some of the tips that help to take umbilical cord care to avoid unnecessary umbilical cord issues.

Symptoms of Infected Umbilical Cord

One should be cautious and observe the umbilical cord to avoid adverse effects. Here are a few general symptoms which help to identify the infected umbilical cord. 

  • Swelling or rashes around the area of the umbilical cord.

  • Bleeding at the tip of the umbilical cord.

  • White or yellow discharge which looks like pus coming from the umbilical cord.

  • Any irritation or pain felt by the baby when you touch the umbilical cord.

  • Generally, in the case of premature babies, few babies suffer from the infected umbilical cord. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

These are the few symptoms observed. When the umbilical cord falls off, a few drops of blood may come out. It is a natural thing, and no need to worry about this. If the umbilical cord blood is too much, then immediately call a doctor and take the advice.

Abnormalities of Umbilical Cord

During the growth of a baby, the umbilical cord may face several abnormalities. Few are very common and have alternatives. But few abnormalities are very severe and need different kinds of treatments. For example, the umbilical cord around the neck is a common cause and can be heard from many mothers. It is also an abnormality of the umbilical cord. It is known as Nuchal Cord. Some of those abnormalities are - 

  • Vasa Previa

  • Nuchal Cord

  • Umbilical Cord Knots

  • Short Umbilical Cord

  • Umbilical Cord Cysts

  • Umbilical Cord Prolapse

  • Single Umbilical Artery


Thus, the umbilical cord is a tough and sensitive tube-like structure that connects the baby to its mom. It is so sensitive and significant. It might be clear how to take care of the umbilical cord stump and the abnormalities and infections that occur to the cord. So, everyone should take proper care and diet and have a happy pregnancy and motherhood by following the suggestions of the doctor.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Umbilical Cord

1. What is Vasa Previa?

Ans. Vasa Previa is one of the critical abnormalities of umbilical cards observed during the time of pregnancy; one would face severe consequences if it is not detected in the early stage. In this case, one or more blood vessels of the umbilical cord start growing at the cervix part. These blood vessels create complications by tearing due to several effects during the time of birth or any other time. It can be cured by doing a C section found in the early stage.

2. What is a Single Umbilical Artery?

Ans. It is a rare condition of the umbilical cord. This type of abnormality occurs when the umbilical cord contains a single artery and a single vein. Usually, it has arteries that help collect the waste material from the baby and get rid of it through the kidneys of the mother. 

If the umbilical cord has one artery, several chances are there to get health issues in various organs like - heart, intestine, and kidneys of the baby. This type of normality is known as a single umbilical artery. But this is a very rare condition that can be observed in one or two percent of babies. The simple logic is the pressure of the whole function will be carried out by a single artery which can't be done up to the mark. This results in another congenital abnormality.

Competitive Exams after 12th Science