Umbilical cord (noun)
The “umbilical cord” is a noun referring to a flexible and tube-like structure that connects a developing fetus to the placenta in the womb of a pregnant mammal, including humans.
It serves as the fetus’s lifeline, allowing the exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products between the fetus and the mother’s circulatory system.
The term “umbilical” comes from the Latin word “umbilicus,” which means “navel” or “belly button.” The word “cord” refers to a flexible, elongated structure. Therefore, “umbilical cord” translates to “navel-like structure” or “belly button-like tube.”
There are no direct synonyms for “umbilical cord,” but it can sometimes be informally referred to as “the cord” or simply “umbilical.”
There are no direct antonyms for “umbilical cord” since it represents a specific anatomical structure.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the umbilical cord’s function during pregnancy?
The umbilical cord serves as a conduit between the developing fetus and the placenta, facilitating the transfer of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products to and from the mother’s bloodstream.
When does the umbilical cord typically detach after birth?
The umbilical cord is usually clamped and cut shortly after the baby’s birth, once the medical team ensures that the baby is breathing and stable. The remaining stump of the cord dries up and falls off within one to three weeks after birth, leaving the baby’s belly button.
Is there any special care required for the umbilical cord stump in newborns?
Yes, it is essential to keep the umbilical cord stump clean and dry to prevent infection. Newborn care often involves sponge baths until the stump falls off. Parents are advised to avoid covering the stump with tight clothing or diapers.
What happens to the umbilical cord after it is cut?
After the umbilical cord is cut, the remaining portion attached to the baby’s belly eventually dries up and forms a small stump. This stump falls off naturally within a few weeks, leaving behind the baby’s belly button.
Can the umbilical cord be donated for medical purposes?
Yes, in some cases, the umbilical cord blood, which contains valuable stem cells, can be collected and stored for medical use. These stem cells can be used in various treatments, such as bone marrow transplants, for patients with certain illnesses. Umbilical cord blood banking is a way to preserve these cells for potential future use.
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