Giving birth to a baby is the hardest thing to do. A woman has to carry the baby for almost 9 months in her womb before giving birth.
The emotional and physical connection of the mother with the baby cannot be expressed in words. The umbilical cord and placenta play a significant role in guaranteeing the fetus’s survival inside the womb.
- The umbilical cord connects a baby to the placenta, facilitating the transfer of nutrients, oxygen, and waste.
- The placenta is an organ that develops during pregnancy and plays a crucial role in nourishing and protecting the fetus.
- After birth, the umbilical cord is cut, and the placenta is expelled from the mother’s body.
Umbilical Cord vs Placenta
The difference between the umbilical cord and the placenta is that the umbilical cord forms a connection between the emerging fetus and the placenta, which is one of the major organs of the mother, whereas the placenta is a transient part that helps in connecting the mother and the fetus.
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The umbilical cord is also popularly known as the birth cord. The umbilical cord has two ends; one is attached to the fetus, and another is to the mother’s placenta.
The development of the umbilical cord takes after the 5th week of conception and develops until the 27th week of pregnancy.
The placenta is one of the most vital organs that helps in transferring minerals, nutrients, and oxygen from the mother to the fetus for its survival and growth.
One of the major features of the placenta is that it produces hormones of different kinds. Placenta also removes and filters out all the waste from the mother’s blood so that it does not harm the fetus.
|Parameters of Comparison||Umbilical Cord||Placenta|
|Connection||The umbilical cord forms a connection between the emerging fetus and the placenta of the mother.||The placenta is an organ that helps in attaching the fetus to the mother.|
|Shape and structure||The umbilical cord is a slender pipe or tube-like structure.||The placenta is an organ in the mother’s body that is disc-shaped.|
|Main function||The main and most important function of the umbilical cord is to form a connection between the placenta and the fetus.||The main and most important function of the placenta is to transfer nutrients from the mother to the fetus and transfer wastes from the fetus to the mother.|
|Production of hormones||The umbilical cord does not produce any kind of hormones.||Placenta produces certain kinds of hormones responsible for the growth of the fetus.|
|Formation||The umbilical cord is formed of maternal endometrial tissues and fetal embryonic tissues.||The placenta is composed of fetal tissues.|
|Number of arteries and veins||The umbilical cord constitutes two arteries and one vein.||The placenta constitutes multiple arteries and veins.|
What is the Umbilical Cord?
The umbilical cord develops up to 20 inches. It starts developing from the 5th week of pregnancy and continues growing up to the 28th week or so.
One of the major functions of the umbilical cord is to carry minerals and pure oxygenated blood from the mother’s placenta to the fetus via the abdomen.
It also helps in transferring waste materials and deoxygenated blood from the fetus to the placenta. It is responsible for the exchange of materials between the mother and the fetus.
The umbilical cord divides into two branches. One of the branches joins in the liver, whereas the other branch joins the heart with the help of smaller vena cava.
Three blood vessels arise from the umbilical cord. Two are arteries and one vein. All of these are preserved by Wharton’s jelly.
One of the major functions of the umbilical cord is also to transfer nutrients like calcium, protein, and sodium from the mother to the fetus, which is helpful for its growth.
The major functions of the umbilical cord are:-
- The umbilical cord provides all the necessary nourishment to the fetus.
- It is also helpful in the process of breathing and excretion.
- It also helps in providing antibodies to the fetus at the last phase of pregnancy.
What is Placenta?
Placenta refers to an organ that starts developing after the whole process of implantation is completed. It helps in bringing the mother’s blood very close to the baby’s blood but does not allow them to mix.
One of the major functions of the placenta is to produce all the necessary pregnancy-relevant hormones.
The major functions of the placenta are:-
- The placenta is extremely helpful in developing a strong immunity in the mother’s body and for the baby.
- The placenta is also helpful in transferring vital elements from the mother to the fetus and removing harmful elements from the fetus.
- The hormones released by the placenta benefit both the mother and the fetus. Estrogen, Progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin are some vital hormones released.
Placenta also is of high cultural significance for many communities all over the world. Some communities bury the placenta, and others have unique ways of disposing of it.
The Nepalese bury the placenta inside their house garden as they consider it as a family member.
Main Differences Between Umbilical Cord and Placenta
- The umbilical cord forms a connection between the fetus and the mother’s placenta, whereas the placenta forms a connection between the mother and the fetus.
- The umbilical cord does not produce any hormones. On the other hand, the placenta produces all the necessary pregnancy hormones.
- The umbilical cord is a slender tube-like structure, whereas the placenta’s shape is like a disc.
- The umbilical cord has 3 blood vessels attached to it. On the other hand, the placenta has numerous blood vessels attached to it.
- The umbilical cord does not possess any cultural significance, whereas the placenta carries various cultural importance.
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.