The umbilical cord connects the unborn baby to the mother through the placenta throughout the pregnancy. This is how the growing baby gets all the nutrition and oxygen needed.

Within a few minutes after your baby is born, the cord is clamped and cut close to the belly button. There are no nerves in the cord so your baby does not feel this at all. The clamp can be removed when the cord has dried, usually before your baby leaves the hospital.

By the time your baby goes home from the hospital, the cord begins to dry and shrink. The color changes from pale to dark brown and it may look like a scab. 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 is important to care for it properly.