Journal of Pregnancy and Neonatal Medicine

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Umbilical Cord

The duct connects a baby within the womb to its mother. It runs from an opening in your baby's stomach to the placenta in the womb. The average cord is about 50cm (20in) long. The duct carries oxygen and nutrients from the placenta into your baby's bloodstream. The duct is formed up of: 1 vein that carries blood rich in oxygen and nutrients from you to your baby; 2 arteries that return deoxygenated blood and waste products, like CO2 , from your baby back to the placenta. These blood vessels are enclosed and guarded by a sticky substance called Wharton's jelly, which itself is roofed by a layer of membrane called the amnion. Towards the top of your pregnancy, the placenta passes antibodies through the duct from you to your baby. These give your baby immunity from infections for about 3 months after birth. However, it only passes on antibodies you already have.

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