What is the umbilical cord?

The umbilical cord is the baby’s lifeline to the mother during pregnancy. The cord transports nutrients to the baby and also carries away the baby’s waste products. It is made up of two arteries and one vein.

What does the umbilical cord look like?

The umbilical cord is a flexible, tube-like structure that has a spongy appearance. The cord is surrounded in a jelly-like substance. After childbirth, the cord is clamped and then cut, leaving a stump behind. In about a week, the stump withers and falls off. The stump changes in color from yellowish-green to brown to black before falling off.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/01/2018.


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