Since the day a woman gets to know that she is pregnant, she eagerly waits for the day when her child will be born. She goes through so much in those nine months just for that special day. Every woman thinks about the delivery day during those nine months. Thinking all about the gender of the baby, what day it will be, how it will happen, how the baby will look like, and whatnot. One such question could be about the umbilical cord. Many women live in a bubble and have no idea about anything related to the umbilical cord. Here we are to answer all your possible doubts about the umbilical cord of your child inside. What is the umbilical cord? The umbilical cord forms around five weeks of gestation time. When in the womb, the umbilical cord delivers the oxygen and the nutrients for proper growth of the baby. It is connected to the baby’s belly button. It is about 20 inches long with two umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein. The umbilical cord serves as a lifeline for his time in the womb. What happens to the umbilical cord at the time of the birth? When the baby comes out of the womb, he/she is still connected to the umbilical cord. The doctor or the midwife assisting the delivery will take two clamps and will place one near the baby’s belly button to stop the blood from escaping and the second will be attached at a little distance to reduce the amount of blood escaping at the other end. Then it will be cut from the center. Neither mother nor the baby will feel any pain because just like the ears there are no veins in the umbilical cord. What happens to the little piece of cord attached to the baby’s belly button? After the birth of your baby, you will notice a little protruding part of the umbilical cord with the baby’s belly button. It is not a matter of concern because it will be gone in a few days’ time. The umbilical cord stays attached for about 5-15 days time. After some time, the cord will dry, shrink, and will turn black, and soon it will fall off. Do not try to pull of the cord as it can prolong the healing time and can also leave a scar. Let the cord be on its own and it ill fall off in its own time. Cord care It is suggested that it’s better to clean your baby and not put him/her in a bathing tub till the cord sheds off. It is best to keep the cord clean and dry as it heals. Dress your baby in loose clothes and also do not let the diaper cover the cord. It is important to take care of the cord sensitively. Caution Make it a point to wash your hands before cleaning the baby as touching the cord with unclean hands can lead to infection. Use only water and cotton pads for cleaning. If the urine or the poop of the baby touches the cord then you can use a mild soap to clean it gently. No band-aids or special covering is required for the stump. It will only delay the process of cord shedding. Also, if you find any yellow, foul-smelling discharge, redness, or bleeding around the stump then you must see your doctor for it as it can be a sign of infection. Umbilical cord complications There are a few umbilical cord abnormalities which can cause a problem to both mother and the child: Umbilical cord compression: Since the umbilical cord is around 20 inches long, it sometimes gets entangled. It also sometimes get wrapped around the fetal’s neck. But this condition does not cause any hindrance in the baby’s birth. Velamentous cord insertion: It is a sensitive condition where the umbilical cord inserts in the middle of the placenta as it develops. The cord inserts into the fetal membranes then travel within the membranes into the placenta. Single umbilical cord artery: By default, there is sometimes instead of two there is a single artery present in the umbilical cord. Approximately this condition affects between 1 in 100 to 1 in 500 pregnancies. Umbilical cord prolapse: This is the condition where the umbilical cord comes out of the uterus before the presenting part of the baby. It occurs at the time of labor Delayed clamping The majority of doctors cut the umbilical cord within a minute of the baby’s birth. But for a few years, a new concept of delayed clamping has been introduced. A few doctors like to wait until the cord has stopped pulsating to clamp before cutting it. It is not just a random practice but there is a medical reason behind it. Research suggests that delayed clamping allows the blood to continue to return to the baby in the first few minutes of life, which may offer him a healthy boost. Research by Mark Sloan revealed that one-third of the fetus’s blood supply resides in the placenta. In the course of the delivery, much of the blood is transfused from the placenta into the newborn driven by the force of uterine contractions. The same transfusion continues beyond the moment of birth. If the umbilical cord is left undisturbed for one to three minutes the placenta will deliver about three more ounces of blood to the newborn. This results in better iron levels in the baby and better growth and development. If you wish to follow this concept you must talk to your doctor about it before the birth of your baby. So now you know all about your baby’s lifeline ‘the umbilical cord’. Be prepared for your delivery day. It is all going to be fine and amazing. Feel free to ask your doctor about any questions you have related to pregnancy and delivery. So stay calm and take each as it comes. Good luck!