How To Dispose of the Umbilical Cord in Nigeria


The umbilical cord has a special meaning in Nigerian culture and is often revered. There are different beliefs and customs about how to get rid of the umbilical cord after delivery. It is thus important for new mothers to understand these traditions so as not to be lost in postnatal care.


During pregnancy, the umbilical cord connects the baby and its mother by providing essential nutrients and oxygen. After birth, it is no longer necessary as food is given to the infant through other means. 


Nigeria has traditional beliefs about disposing of this part of a baby’s body. This blog post discusses myths surrounding them, proper disposal knowledge and provide answers to what most people ask.



Myths on disposal of umbilical cord

Various myths surround the disposal of umbilical cords in Nigeria. Some people believe that burying a baby’s navel string in certain sacred places brings luck or protects him/her from accidents. 


Some include: Burying the cord for good health, using it for protection, offering it to animals for luck, floating it away in water to symbolize independence, or keeping it as a memento of the birth.



Should new moms eat the umbilical cord after delivery?

It is not medical advice to eat the umbilical cord after delivery. Some cultures may have some religious and other related reasons why eating the umbilical cord is considered good.


The most important thing is to maintain hygiene and safety standards when it comes to eating the umbilical cord.


Ways to dispose of the umbilical cord in Nigeria

  • Burying: In Nigeria’s culture, burying an umbrella-like object in a certain place such as under a tree or around family houses is common. The act represents connecting the child back to his forefathers thus protection.


  • Preservation: Some parents choose to keep their baby’s umbilical cords as memories or for cultural purposes. It should be dried up, wrapped using cloth, and kept in a safe place.


  • Skincare: Human placentas are also used as a source of extracts for ingredients in various consumer products such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, hair care products, health tonics, and food products.


  • Burning: Certain communities believe that burning an umbilical cord washes away any impurity from it and protects offspring against demonic attacks and diseases.


  • Eating the placenta: Following the advocacy by some international celebrities, encouraging women to eat their placenta for certain health benefits, it wouldn’t hurt to give it a second thought before deciding to join the bandwagon. 


  • Medical waste disposal: In contemporary healthcare settings, hospitals typically get rid of the umbilical cord like any other medical waste according to established procedures for safety precautions.



In Nigerian culture, traditions, and personal decisions play a significant role in disposing of umbilical cords. Nonetheless, it is important to consider hygiene, security, and reverence for cultural practices while thinking about how to throw them away.


 It should be the prerogative of all new mothers to choose an approach that corresponds with their values and guarantees safety for both themselves and their infants.

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