Difference between the Placenta and Umbilical Cord

The placenta and umbilical cord are the primary support systems formed after conception. They act as a passage between the mother and the foetus.

What is a placenta?

The placenta is the section that joins the embryo to the mother. They provide food/nutrients and oxygen to the developing embryo. They also gather carbon dioxide and other waste materials from the baby. Furthermore, they have a rich supply of blood vessels. The placenta is attached anywhere in the uterus and rarely on its lower side.

The placenta also produces a vital pregnancy hormone called the hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin).

What is an umbilical cord?

It is an adaptable, tubular construction between the foetus and the mother’s placenta. It is also known as the birth cord. It aids in the transportation of blood between the foetus and the placenta. Also, waste materials are transported through this portal.

The umbilical blood (cord blood) is 100% foetal. The cord contains two umbilical arteries and one vein. Also, it is a significant source of stem cells.

Significant Differences between the Placenta and Umbilical Cord

Both the placenta and the umbilical cord are unique mammalian features. They work together in nourishing and protecting the baby. Also, they are removed soon after birth. The following table will discuss the differences between the placenta and umbilical cord.



Umbilical Cord

It is a porous tubular structure that connects the foetus and the mother. It is a tubular cord that attaches the foetus to the placenta.
It provides food/nourishment and protection (immunity). Also, excretion, gas exchange and other hormonal actions occur in the placenta. The umbilical cord is a tubular link that aids in the functioning of the placenta.

Also Read: Pregnancy and Parturition

Frequently Asked Questions


What happens to the placenta after childbirth?

The placenta is ousted from the mother’s body after childbirth. This usually happens within a few minutes. It is no longer needed inside the mother’s body, as its function has been completed. Also, the umbilical cord is clamped a few minutes after childbirth.


What is the function of the umbilical cord?

The umbilical cord or birth cord transports oxygenated blood and supplements from the placenta to the foetus. It additionally takes away deoxygenated blood and byproducts from the baby to the placenta. Providing nutrition, aiding in excretion, gas exchange, and immunity are significant functions.


How is the placenta formed?

After fertilisation, the blastocyst containing the inner cellular mass develops into the foetus. At the same time, the outer trophoblast cells constitute the placenta.

Also see: Embryo Development

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