An umbilical catheter is a small flexible tube that is put into a baby’s umbilical stump. The umbilical stump is what is left of the umbilical cord after it is cut when the baby is born. The stump sticks out of the baby’s belly button. The umbilical cord has 1 vein and 2 arteries.
An umbilical catheter can be used to:
Instead of this procedure, another treatment may be placing an IV in the arms, legs, or scalp. However, newborns have very small veins and arteries. Sometimes it may take many tries to put an IV into a baby’s small blood vessels. It may be easier to use an umbilical catheter.
Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.
Your baby will lie on his or her back and be secured so that your baby doesn’t move during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will stretch the umbilical stump open and put the catheter into a vein or an artery. Your provider may sew or tape the catheter in place.
Your baby will stay in the hospital while the umbilical catheter is in place. The catheter may be taken out when:
Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and any risks. Some possible risks include:
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if anyone in your family has had a tendency to have extra and abnormal blood clotting.
There is risk with every treatment or procedure. Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.