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Umbilical cord

The umbilical cord is a fetal organ connecting the placenta to the developing fetus. This structure allows for the passage of oxygen and nutrients from the maternal circulation to the fetal circulation. In doing so, it also functions to remove waste products from fetal circulation. 

The umbilical cord attaches to the fetus at the umbilicus and extends to insert onto the center of the placental bulk. On average it measures 55-60 cm in length and has a diameter of 1-2cm.

The umbilical cord is a bundle of blood vessels contained within a tubular sheath of amnion and consists of two paired umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein. The paired umbilical arteries function to carry deoxygenated blood from the fetus to the placenta while the umbilical vein carries oxygenated blood from the placenta to the fetus. 

Terminology English: Umbilical cord
Latin: Funiculus umbilicalis
Location Attaches to the fetus at the umbilicus and center of the placental bulk
Structure Blood vessel bundle surrounded by a tubular sheath of amnion

Composed of: Two paired umbilical arteries and one umbilical vein
Function Vital passage for nutrients, oxygen and waste products to and from the fetus

Take a closer look at the structures of the fetus in utero using the study unit below. 

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