This section is from the book "The London Medical Dictionary", by Bartholomew Parr. Also available from Amazon: London Medical Dictionary.
Vel Funiculus Umbilicalis, (from its resemblance to a rope). The xavel-string. It is of very different lengths, commonly about half a yard; usually fixed near the middle of the placenta, but occasionally near its edge. It is composed of two arteries and two veins: though sometimes the vein, and at others the artery, is single. These vessels are convoluted, and surrounded by a fine net work of fibres of a gelatinous texture. The arteries are continuations of the internal iliacs or hypogastrics; the veins are formed by the union of all the branches in the placenta; they are continued into the abdomen at the navel, and so on to the vena portae in the liver. (See Foetus). After the birth, the remaining parts of the arteries in the abdomen form the ligamenta umbilicalia inferiora, and the veins the falciform or suspensory ligament of the liver.
There is always a point where the funis begins, and where the integuments separate from it: it is indifferent where it is divided, as it always drops off at the same place.
If the funis be torn off from the child, so that a ligature cannot be applied, Le Motte assures us he succeeded in preventing an haemorrhage by applying pledgets of lint, and confining them with proper compresses and bandage; but some recommend the needle and ligature. Animals stop the haemorrhage by drawing the funis with their, teeth; and, in such cases, we might imitate the practice by employing the forceps.
If the child descends to the os externum, but seems to be drawn up and down as if suspended by a rope, the funis is probably too short, or entangled: in this case some practitioners have cut it about five or six inches from the child's belly; but with a little patience it will stretch sufficiently.