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Entries in umbilical cord (1)

Tuesday
Jun182013

Stumped by the belly button? 

Belly buttons are such a funny part of the body – why are they there anyway? Just to tickle and stick fingers into? During fetal development, the belly button (or umbilicus) is the lifeline from mom’s placenta. The umbilical cord connects the fetus to the placenta, which is how the baby receives nutrients from mom during pregnancy. After delivery, the umbilical cord is cut, leaving a small stump that will ultimately fall off and form the notorious belly button.

In the first day or so, the umbilical stump usually looks whitish and rubbery. Over the next few days, it starts to dry out and may even turn dark brown or black, which is normal. It will generally stay this way for one to two weeks until the stump falls off entirely. During this time, you may notice some yellowish/whitish (or even bloody) discharge coming from the base of the cord. Generally this is normal and related to the cord separating from the navel. If it seems like an excessive amount of discharge, always let your doctor know! After the cord falls off, you may notice that there is a bit of red tissue at the base of the belly button. This will often heal up on its own and is healing tissue that may continue to ooze a small amount. If, however, it’s still there after about a week, get in touch with your doctor – it may need to be treated with medicine (called silver nitrate) to help it heal.

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