The umbilical cord: normal parameters

J R Soc Health. 1991 Aug;111(4):138-40. doi: 10.1177/146642409111100406.


The average length of the umbilical cord is 50-60 cm in the normal full term newborn infant. The length of the cord is an index of foetal activity and is dependent on the tension caused by the freely moving foetus, primarily during the second trimester. The short cord is associated with foetal akinesis or maldevelopment of the central nervous system and is a significant early marker of developmental abnormalities including Down syndrome. Abnormal girth of the cord should make one suspicious of a patent urachus or an umbilical hernia and caution should be used before clamping. The importance of the twist is that, if not present, one should suspect congenital anomalies. The twist should be to the left or counter clockwise. The cord stump separates from the baby at about two weeks of age at present in the era of triple dye care with a large variability due to multiple factors.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Reference Values
  • Umbilical Cord / anatomy & histology*