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Umbilical cord: after birth

The umbilical cord stops pumping blood at birth due to the rapid decrease in temperature and thus becomes futile. The nurse, midwife or possibly even your partner will clamp the umbilical cord after birth, placing one clip near the belly button and another near the placenta. Now mums we know you’re already worrying about your bundle of joy, but don’t worry there are no nerves in the umbilical cord so neither clamping it nor cutting it hurts your baby.

After birth, your baby will have a stump about 1-1½in./2-3 cm. long where the umbilical cord was cut off. This will fall off between 5 and 15 days and should fully heal 7-10 days afterwards. It is important to keep your baby’s belly button clean and dry during the first few weeks after birth as it can become infected. Never use rubbing alcohol to clean it as it is can do the opposite and irritate it, soap and water should do the trick. If you notice it oozing pus or blood and/or it appears tender contact your physician immediately as it is probably infected and treatment is necessary.

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