The baby's lifeline from the mother during pregnancy. The umbilical cord is formed during the fifth week of gestation and connects the fetus' circulation with the mother's placenta. Through this vascular structure, the fetus receives nutrients, such as oxygen, glucose, and protein. . When the baby is born the cord is about 2 feet long and 1/2 inch thick.
The umbilical cord is clamped and cut shortly after birth. It will turn black within the first few days and should protrude about an inch or less. It will fall off within about 2-3 weeks. It is important to care for the umbilical stump to ensure proper healing. Fold diapers below the stump to expose it to air and keep it dry. Cleaning should be with a cotton swab and alcohol. The ideal time to do this is just after changing a diaper. If you notice that the skin around the stump has turned red or if the cord is oozing, call your doctor.