Insertion of an umbilical catheter is the placement of a tube into the arteries or vein of the umbilical stump.

During pregnancy the umbilical cord is an important part of your baby’s blood flow system. Once your child is born the cord is no longer needed but the blood vessels remain for a few weeks.

Umbilical Cord
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The umbilical stump may be used to deliver treatment or take blood samples in newborns. In newborns, the umbilical cord may be a much easier access point than blood vessels in other parts of the body. This is particularly true for premature babies. The umbilical cord is also painless which can make it easier for the baby.

A catheter may be used to:

  • Remove blood for testing
  • Monitor blood pressure
  • Deliver nutrients or medicine
  • Deliver or exchange blood

Regular access to the blood with a catheter will cut down on the number of needle sticks your baby will have. It is also available to treat emergency situations.