34 Difference between Umbilical Cord and Placenta

Umbilical Cord and Placenta

The umbilical cord and placenta help animals, including humans, develop before birth. Each helps the baby and mother share nutrition, air, and waste materials. They’re related and work together, yet they’re separate. During pregnancy, the placenta matures into a complex organ. It transfers blood from the mother to the baby. The uterine wall attaches to it. The infant receives oxygen and nourishment from the mother. By blocking harmful substances, the placenta protects the infant. Progesterone and hCG are also produced by it.

The infant is attached to the placenta via a flexible umbilical cord. It has two arteries and one vein that delivers oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood from the placenta to the infant and returns deoxygenated, waste-filled blood to it. The umbilical cord transfers gases and nutrients between the fetus and the mother’s bloodstream.

Both the placenta and the umbilical cord assist the fetus to obtain food and eliminate waste, although they are distinct. The placenta develops from the mother and fetus. However, the umbilical cord is primarily blood vessels and connective tissue. The placenta produces hormones, exchanges nutrients, and gases, and eliminates waste. Blood flows from the newborn to the placenta through the umbilical cord.

The umbilical cord and placenta help the infant grow and stay healthy during prenatal development. The placenta distributes nutrition, gases, and hormones. Blood flows through the umbilical cord between the fetus and the placenta. To comprehend the numerous mechanisms that maintain a fetus growing and developing during pregnancy, you need to grasp how these structures are distinct.

S. No.


Umbilical Cord




Flexible cord-like structure

Organ attached to the uterine wall



Connects the fetus to the placenta

Provides oxygen, nutrients, and removes waste from the fetus



Varies, typically around 20 inches (50 cm)

Disc-like organ, usually 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in diameter



Contains blood vessels (veins and arteries)

Contains blood vessels, amniotic sac, and chorionic villi



Cord-like, typically pale and gelatinous

Disk-like, reddish-brown color



Connects the fetus at the belly button area

Attached to the uterine wall


Blood Flow

Carries oxygenated blood to the fetus

Transports nutrients and oxygen to the fetus


Waste Removal

Removes deoxygenated blood and waste products

Transfers waste and carbon dioxide from the fetus


Maternal Connection

Derived from both fetal and maternal tissues

Formed by maternal and fetal tissues


Development Time

Forms by the fifth week of gestation

Develops during early pregnancy



Contains two arteries and one vein

Consists of maternal and fetal components


Amniotic Fluid Exchange

Does not directly exchange amniotic fluid

Facilitates exchange of nutrients and gases


Fetal Oxygenation

Provides oxygen to the fetus

Enables oxygen exchange for the fetus


Fetal Nutrient Supply

Delivers nutrients to the fetus

Supplies necessary nutrients to the fetus


Blood Type Compatibility

Fetus and mother’s blood types can differ

Blood types of fetus and mother can differ


Placental Barrier

Acts as a barrier between fetal and maternal blood

Facilitates nutrient and gas exchange


Hormone Production

Does not produce significant hormones

Produces hormones to support pregnancy


Removal After Birth

Remains attached until clamped and cut

Delivered shortly after the baby’s birth


Source of Stem Cells

Contains some fetal stem cells

Source of mesenchymal stem cells


Size Change During Pregnancy

Length remains relatively consistent

Grows in size throughout pregnancy


Protective Role

Protects the blood vessels within the cord

Provides a barrier against infections


Timing of Formation

Forms after the implantation of the embryo

Begins forming soon after conception


Nutrient Exchange Site

Not the primary site of nutrient exchange

Primary site of nutrient and gas exchange


Handling After Birth

Cord may be clamped and cut after birth

Placenta is typically delivered shortly after birth


Functions After Birth

No longer functional after birth

No longer required after the baby’s birth


Blood Volume

Carries a small portion of fetal blood volume

Has a significant portion of fetal blood volume


Fetal Waste Disposal

Participates in waste removal from the fetus

Does not actively remove fetal waste


Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood can be collected and stored for potential medical use

Placental tissue can also be collected for regenerative purposes



Does not implant in the uterus

Attaches to the uterine wall


Protection of Fetus

Provides a conduit for nutrients and oxygen

Provides a barrier against maternal immune response


Vascular Structure

Contains vessels in a helical pattern

Contains vessels connected to the fetus


Blood Circulation

Oxygenated blood flows from placenta to fetus

Oxygenated blood flows from mother to fetus


Removal During Delivery

Typically clamped and cut after baby’s birth

Delivered shortly after the baby’s birth


Attachment to Uterus

Not directly attached to the uterine wall

Attached to the uterine wall through chorionic villi

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What does the placenta do during pregnancy?

The placenta joins the mother and fetus during pregnancy. It transfers nutrients, oxygen, and waste between the mother and fetus. Placentas generate hCG and progesterone.

Q2. What is the umbilical cord, and how does it function?

The fetus’s umbilical cord is flexible. Two arteries and one vein carry blood between the fetus and the placenta. The arteries return deoxygenated and waste-laden blood to the placenta, while the veins carry oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to the fetus. This cord transports gases, nutrients, and waste.

Q3. How do the placenta and umbilical cord form?

Fetal and maternal tissues form the placenta. It attaches to the uterine wall from the fertilized egg and uterine lining. The connecting stalk from the embryo develops the umbilical cord, which connects the fetus to the placenta.

Q4. Can placenta or umbilical cord abnormalities affect pregnancy?

Placenta and umbilical cord issues might affect pregnancy. Bleeding, reduced fetal development, and oxygen deprivation can result from placenta previa, placental abruption, or umbilical cord anomalies. Prenatal care detects and addresses concerns.

Q5. What happens to the placenta and cord after birth?

Fetal and maternal tissues form the placenta. It attaches to the uterine wall from the fertilized egg and uterine lining. The connecting stalk from the embryo develops the umbilical cord, which connects the fetus to the placenta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *