Umbilical Cord Care and how to identify its infection | NextMamas.
The umbilical cord is a thin pipe-like structure that acts as a connecting link between the placenta and your developing baby. This cord provides blood to the baby. After delivery, a mother has to take care of this cord. By keeping this cord cleaned, you can eliminate possibilities of infection. In this article, we will look at the signs of infections, and how to take the best care of umbilical cord.
About the Umbilical Cord
The umbilical cord is also called as a navel string, or a birth cord. It is a channel between the placenta and the growing fetus. The main purpose of umbilical cord is to deliver oxygen, and nutrients to the embryo in the womb. This cord is filled with a fluid called as umbilical cord fluid. This fluid has plenty of stem cells present in it. It is around ten times greater than the fluid collected from the bone marrow. This fluid is effective for the treatment of cancer, immune system disorders, blood ailments like anemia, that has the ability to disturb the defensive ability of the body.
How much time does it take for the umbilical cord to cut?
The umbilical cord is detached from the baby at the time of birth. Detachment of the cord does not cause any pain to the baby. This is because this cord does not have any nerves in it. However, a stub of tissue remains joined to the navel of the baby. With passing time, this stump dries and shrinks in size. After elapse of one or two weeks, this cord gets dried, hardened, turns brownish black in color, and ultimately falls off. The cord stump and the region surrounding it is prone to getting infected. To prevent it, you need to keep it dry, and clean.
Reasons why the cord does not detach from the baby
Some parent complains that the umbilical cord does not fall off from the baby. This can happen due to either infection or a compromised immune system. The exact cause for this problem needs investigation. If it does not fall off within a few weeks, then you can seek medical assistance.
How to take care of the skin when stump falls off?
The skin of the baby is delicate and is prone to infection. When the stump falls off, it is necessary to take good care of the skin present underneath the stump for efficient healing. In some cases, a little fluid may come out.
Keeping the navel region dry and clean will help in preventing any infection and promoting quick healing. If you do not notice any signs of healing after fifteen to twenty days, then you should seek assistance of your doctor.
Ways to clean and take good care of the Umbilical Cord Stump
- Clean the navel region of the baby at the time of giving him a bath, or changing his diaper. Here is how to do it: Lay the baby on a comfortable surface like a soft towel. Prepare a warm soapy water, by adding baby soap to it. Now take a sponge and dip it in this water. Release excess water from it, and gently clean the navel region daily.
- Do not apply any ointment on the region and let it dry on its own.
- Diaper can cause irritation to your baby’s stump. To prevent it, fold the diaper down below the stump to it from rubbing against the stump.
- Clear any fluid that comes out from the stump to avoid infection.
- Fever is an indication of infection. If your baby has got a fever, and shows any other signs of infection, then contact your doctor straight away.
- Do not try to pull out the stump by yourself. It is a natural process and let it falls off on its own.
- Some drops of blood can come out when the stump falls off. However, when this amount increases, then you need to discuss this issue with your doctor immediately
Signs of Infection in Umbilical Cord Stump
If you find any of the below-mentioned signs of infections in the umbilical cord, then you should reach out your doctor at the earliest.
- A smelly yellow-colored fluid released from the stump region
- The skin around the stump becoming red
- Swelling of the entire navel region
- Your baby is feeling pain when you touch the stump. This could be due to soreness in the region.
Author: Dr. Iram Gill
Dr. Iram Gill is an MBBS doctor by profession and a Content Writer by passion. She is a mother as well and has observed the health-related challenges faced by mothers and babies. She wants to play her part in increasing access and support for breastfeeding and maternal health problems.