Umbilical cord care in the newborn infant

Committee on Fetus and Newborn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Postpartum infections remain a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality worldwide. A high percentage of these infections may stem from bacterial colonization of the umbilicus, because cord care practices vary in refl ection of cultural traditions within communities and disparities in health care practices globally. After birth, the devitalized umbilical cord often proves to be an ideal substrate for bacterial growth and also provides direct access to the bloodstream of the neonate. Bacterial colonization of the cord not infrequently leads to omphalitis and associated thrombophlebitis, cellulitis, or necrotizing fasciitis. Various topical substances continue to be used for cord care around the world to mitigate the risk of serious infection. More recently, particularly in high-resource countries, the treatment paradigm has shifted toward dry umbilical cord care. This clinical report reviews the evidence underlying recommendations for care of the umbilical cord in different clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20162149
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Committee on Fetus and Newborn (2016). Umbilical cord care in the newborn infant. Pediatrics, 138(3), [e20162149].