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Written by Feba Maryann  

The human body is full of wonders with several exciting aspects about it. Alike, the beautiful bond of mother and child there is a scientific connection between them both which is the conduit between a pregnant woman and her child known as an umbilical cord. It supplies blood also nutrients and oxygen to the baby and removes waste. After birth, it is not needed and falls off itself in about two weeks of delivery.   

The umbilical cord is also known as navel string, birth cord and funiculus umbilicals. It is formed from the yolk sac and allantois. It gets developed during the fifth week and replaces the yolk sac to provide nutrition to the baby. The umbilical cord is not directly connected to the mother instead it joins the placenta that functions for the transfer of nutrition and waste. Its length is about 50 cm and its diameter is 2 cm. Until the time it stays attached to the baby’s body after birth, it needs to be handled gently with great care.  

Here Are Some Ways That Can Help for Umbilical Cord Care in Newborns:  

Clean Your Hands:  

Hands should be cleaned with soap and water or sanitiser before and after touching the stump to prevent infections.  

Cleaning of Stump:  

It is advised to gently sanitize the stump with rubbing alcohol after every diaper change to clean the stump and avoid infections.   

Drying the Stump:  

The front portion of the diaper should be folded in a way that that stump should be exposed to air so that it dries and falls off itself.   

Prefer Sponge Baths:  

Giving a bath can make the stump cord wet and it will take a longer time to fall off. So, it is better to clean the baby’s body using a damp sponge.   

Do Not Pluck the Stump Cord:  

When the base gets dried, the stump cord itself falls down so any temptations to pull it should be resisted.  

Dress Baby in Loose Clothes:  

Baby’s clothes should be loose enough to avoid pressing of stump cord.   

Checking For Ooze:  

Cord should be checked for ooze hourly for two hours of birth.  

Bleeding Is Normal:  

Sometimes removal of cord causes bleeding so it should be dealt with normally without any concern.  

Signs Of Concern:  

If the cord has any kind of redness, odour or stickiness, parents should immediately inform the doctor.  


The cord should be clamped with sterile clamps and cut with sterile scissors only.  

Signs of Concern: 

After birth, there is a healing process involved with the umbilical cord. At that time, a few spots of blood near the cord are completely normal. Even when it falls off, it can cause a little bleeding. However, there are some situations related to the umbilical area which are a sign of concern:   

  • Oozing of pus  
  • Skin redness and swelling  
  • Formation of pink moist bumps  

All of these are symptoms of an umbilical cord infection which requires immediate treatment. Also, if the umbilical cord doesn’t fall off after three weeks of birth, the doctor should be consulted to avoid any underlying problem such as immune system disorder.   

Umbilical Cord Preservation:  

The preservation of stem cells present in the cord is a potential treatment for several blood related diseases and disorders that has helped in saving the lives of people.  

Steps Involved in Cord Preservation:   

  • Firstly, cord blood is collected and a segment of the cord is cut and stored in a sterile container.  
  • This container is sent to a laboratory for processing and preservation.   
  • The other components of the cord are removed except its lining which is then washed and segmented into pieces.  
  • These decontaminated segments are stored in cryovials containing protectants for health preservation.  
  • After that, the lining segments are frozen in temperature regulated freezers.   
  • Finally, these cryovials are transferred into an MVE anti contamination vapour phase liquid nitrogen storage system with -190-degree Celsius temperature for long term preservation.  

With this process, the cells preserved are prevented from ageing and exposure to foreign particles thereby keeping them young and decontaminated so that they can be used to regenerate fresh blood and the immune system if required in future. 

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