We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Umbilical Cord?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An umbilical cord, also known as a funis, is a tube found in placental mammals linking the unborn animal to its placenta. The placenta acts as a barrier within the uterus that stops many harmful substances from entering, as well as a store of energy and blood transfer for the developing embryo or fetus.

The umbilical cord passes blood between the fetus and the placenta. This blood is highly charged with oxygen to keep the fetus alive and well without a direct air source. After birth, the cord is severed and either removed or falls off, leaving a small scar — properly known as the umbilicus, more commonly known as the navel or belly button.

Umbilical cords have become very important in recent years, as it has been discovered they are a rich source of stem cells. Many groups in favor of stem cell research have pointed to this as a ready source of stem cells that do not require aborted fetuses. Parents are often turning to freezing their child's cord blood stem cells, in case they need them later in life.

The word umbilical comes from the middle Latin umbilicalis, meaning "of the navel", and is first recorded in use during the mid-18th century. In a metaphorical sense, the cord is used to denote a strong connection between a mother and her offspring — so "cutting the umbilical cord" becomes an expression for becoming more independent in the world.

A number of studies have linked cord length to high risks for fetal malformation and stillbirths. While these studies are as yet inconclusive, the body of evidence appears to be growing and indicating strongly for a correlation. At birth, a human umbilical cord ranges in length from 15-23 inches (40-60 cm), although variations can be more extreme in rare cases.

A prolapsed (out of place) umbilical cord may result in a number of problems for an unborn fetus. Most commonly the fetus may become strangled by the cord and die in utero, or the cord may become knotted or twisted to such a degree that blood flow is severely limited — resulting in heavy brain damage or death. In cases of prolapsed umbilical cords, Cesarean sections are often the only realistic option to save the fetus' life.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.