Umbilical Cord

Literally the lifeline between the developing fetus and mother, the umbilical cord is a long, flexible structure consisting of two arteries and one vein surrounded by a gelatinous matrix. The placenta, which connects the mother to the umbilical cord, is an organ that develops in her uterus during pregnancy, which provides nutrients and oxygenated blood for the fetus and eliminates its waste products. At birth, the umbilical cord is tied off and clamped to prevent the mother and child from bleeding to death. It is then cut at the child's end where the remaining stump soon heals. The baby's lungs, liver, kidneys, and other organs then take over functions performed by the umbilical cord, placenta and mother. The remaining cord is used to pull the placenta, more commonly known as the "afterbirth" because it is delivered after the baby in a vaginal birth, from the mother's womb.

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