Why Do Babies Have Umbilical Cords?

The umbilical cord is your baby’s lifeline, in every sense of the word.

According to the American Pregnancy Association the umbilical cord attaches the fetus to the placenta in utero. The placenta is an extremely fascinating organ, in that it is a brand new organ that your body develops just for the purpose of supporting your pregnancy, and when your pregnancy is over, your body gets rid of it.

The placenta is what carries blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the baby, and the umbilical cord is the connection from the placenta to the baby. As the American Pregnancy Association notes, the umbilical cord is made up of blood vessels, some of these vessels carry blood to the baby, and others carry blood away from the baby.

The umbilical cord can grow up to 23.5 inches long, giving your baby enough length to move around the uterus without damaging the cord or placenta. The cord can sometimes become tied in a knot during pregnancy, but that’s normal and doesn’t pose any threat to the baby.

Some women choose the option to have a “lotus birth,” where you don’t cut the cord and allow it to naturally detach. The traditional method is to clamp and cut the cord. Once this is done, the section that remains after will heal and become your baby’s belly button. Seven to ten days after the cord is cut, the remaining stump will fall off, leaving your baby’s belly button.