Umbilical cord care
The umbilical cord is your baby's lifeline to her mother during pregnancy. However, it’s no longer needed once your baby is born, so it’s removed.
- Within a few minutes after birth, the cord is clamped and cut close to the navel.
- The clamp helps stop bleeding from the three blood vessels in the umbilical cord—two arteries and one vein.
- A medication is applied to the cord as part of your baby's first care. This may be a purple dye or another type of antiseptic.
By the time your baby goes home from the hospital, her cord is beginning to dry and wither. The clamp can be removed when the cord is completely dry. The cord falls off by itself in about two to three weeks. Because the umbilical cord may be a place for infection to enter your baby's body, it’s important to care for it properly.