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Umbilical cord: Hygiene and Infection

By: | Tags: , , , | Comments: 6 | May 6th, 2019

Women are the best creation and creator. Not every species is able to bear the tremendous pain during the journey of giving enormous joy to a family. A woman is the most vulnerable during both pre and post pregnancy. So, it is important to ensure complete care during this time.

“Congratulations!” is the first thing the doctor says to the mother and the first action she does after the delivery is to clamp and snip off the umbilical cord. As this umbilical cord becomes the beginning of happiness for a family, we need to dig in detail about it.

Umbilical cord – during pregnancy

Umbilical cord basically is the connector between the developing embryo (the baby) and the placenta. The umbilical cord normally contains two arteries and one vein. This umbilical vein shoulders the responsibility of supplying oxygenated blood and nutrients from the placenta. It enters the fetus (single-celled embryo) through the abdomen, at the point which later grows to be the navel. Within the fetus, the umbilical vein approaches the liver and then splits into two. One of its branches carries the blood into the liver. The second branch i.e. ductus venosus carries the blood towards the heart.

Umbilical cord- post delivery

After the delivery, the baby is supposed to have like a purplish-blue stamp that may measure about a half inch to an inch long. It takes 1-2 weeks approximately for it to completely dry and falls off. This umbilical cord is snipped off as it is no longer needed after the delivery, which leaves behind a short stamp.  As it nourished the baby with all nutrients and water, it becomes crucial to take care of it until it falls off.

This umbilical cord stump is prone to infections and can be fatal for the baby if not treated properly.
Care for the Cord
  • Keep it dry: Make sure that the stump is exposed to the air often. Predominately, it was instructed to pad rubbing alcohol in the area after every diaper change. However, this practice is no longer advisable as it destroys the bacteria that help to dry the stamp. To serve the purpose, diapers having a special cut to allow the exposure of air must be used. This prevents the signs of irritation.
  • Natural drying: Avoid any temptation of forceful trying to pull off the stamp. Let it dry and fall off naturally.
  • Sponge baths: Give only sponge bath to your baby until the stump falls off. Usage of special tubs or sinks is strictly not allowed. Do not rub the area dry after the bath instead let it dry under the fan to avoid any kind of infections.
Symptoms of infections
  • Bleeding: While the stamp is healing, it is natural to have some bleed around it. Even during falling off, it might shed some blood but it is normal.
    But if non-stop bleeding is observed, then you must see a doctor immediately.
  • Red or Swollen: If the area is swollen and becomes red or if it grows a pink moist bump, in all such cases, see your baby doctor.
  • Pus: If the area starts to ooze pus with foul-smelling, then you must not ignore this symptom and take actions immediately.
  • Delay in fall off: If the stamp doesn’t fall off after three weeks then it can be symptoms of some other problems. If the baby finds it painful to bear then keep calm and contact your doctor.
  • Umbilical Granuloma: It is a small nodule like pinkish-red tissue with yellow-greenish discharge, any such signs mustn’t be ignored.

The major duty as a parent is to notice every detail of their baby regularly and take special care. Be calm and immediate with the actions if any such symptoms are observed.

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