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abstract

  • The umbilical cord is a critical connection between the embryo (and later, the fetus) and the placenta. The umbilical cord houses the blood vessels that are responsible for nourishing the fetus. Proper umbilical cord function is essential for growth and development before birth. A review of the embryologic origin of the umbilical cord aids in understanding abdominal wall and umbilical cord defects that can present in the newborn period. In the delivery room, inspection of the umbilical cord is an integral part of the first minutes of life. Any abnormality either within the cord structure or in the areas surrounding the base of the cord may necessitate a delay in shortening the cord. Surgical consultation may also be indicated. This issue of Focus on the Physical will provide a step-by-step guide to cord assessment in the delivery room setting. Pictures showing normal, atypical, and abnormal umbilical cords and common abdominal wall defects will be presented along with a brief discussion of the significance and clinical implications of each of these findings.

publication date

  • February 2002