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Real Story: How a Couple Persevered To Help Their Child with Cerebral Palsy

This is a real story from Indonesia.

“We refused to give up,” said Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi Aprilia as they recalled the time when they found out that their daughter Harumi has cerebral palsy. This proclamation was the source of strength that kept this couple fighting on to nurse their baby back to health.

Nothing unusual happened during Harumi’s birth. Everything seemed fine. Yet, at only a few days old, the little baby experienced her first seizure. The first month of Harumi’s life was the hardest because her parents could not figure out what was happening to their daughter. She was only finally diagnosed with cerebral palsy after the family consulted several doctors. Harumi’s parents had few options then. Someone told them to accept the reality but they insisted on not giving up and continued to tirelessly search for possible solutions to help their daughter.

When Harumi was born, her parents donated her umbilical cord to a laboratory owned by a friend. Under the advice of this friend, Harumi underwent her first stem cell therapy with stem cells obtained from her own umbilical cord. She was almost three months old at the time. After the therapy, Harumi’s condition improved and she had lesser seizure episodes, which stopped eventually.

As Harumi’s umbilical cord was not stored under optimal conditions, she only had enough stem cells for one infusion. While Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi continued to search for other viable options, they put Harumi on regular physiotherapy to help develop her sensory and motor functions.

Five months later, a blessing came knocking on the family’s door when Mrs. Dwi became pregnant with their second child. Encouraged by the positive result from using Harumi’s umbilical cord stem cells, the couple decided to store their second child’s umbilical cord blood and umbilical cord lining as well. This time around, they selected a more well-established stem cell bank, Cordlife, to safeguard their baby son’s precious biological resources.

A few months after Harumi turned two, she went through another stem cell therapy using her baby brother’s umbilical cord stem cells, collected and cryopreserved by Cordlife. This time, her parents noticed that Harumi’s eyes can properly align with each other and she can visually follow light movements with ease.

The couple’s undying perseverance in seeking help for their beloved daughter proved to be fruitful. Although Harumi still requires more interventions, the progress in her health and development gave hope to her parents.

For Mr. Hasan and Mrs. Dwi, Harumi’s unexpected predicament is a constant reminder not take things for granted and to do whatever they can within their means to safeguard their children’s health. They also encourage parents of children with cerebral palsy not to give up. “No matter how big or small the chance is, every effort has its own fruit. And maybe, among the efforts, a miracle is waiting to be found,” said the couple.

Umbilical cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that have been used in the treatment of 80+ disorders including some cancers, blood disorders and developmental disorders. Umbilical cord lining contains two other cell lines; mesenchymal stem cells and epithelial cells, which have the potential to support treatment for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, severe burn wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, eye conditions, etc. In this modern era, cord blood and cord lining banking have become an integral part of childbirth and health protection.

Breastfeeding and Tongue Tie

Tongue-tie or medically known as ankyloglossia, is a condition where babies have an abnormally short membrane under their tongues. The short membrane or frenulum, is a strip of skin that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth and when it is shorter or thicker than usual, it stops the tongue’s tip from sticking out beyond the lower gum.

In another words, it is an actual condition that restricts tongue motions in babies. This condition has been established as a congenital abnormality and it is affecting 2.8% to 10.7%1 of the babies.

With such condition, it may cause breastfeeding difficulties among the babies. Tongue-tied babies cannot protrude their tongues, making it difficult to latch onto breasts. Therefore, a tongue-tied baby may not be able to suckle properly, which means he/she might not get enough milk to grow well.

Mothers with tongue-tied babies may also experience nipple pain, mastitis, low milk supply, and emotional pain. As a result, mothers who plan exclusive breastfeeding often result in weaning their babies early.
Tongue-tie is sometimes diagnosed during a newborn’s examination. However, this condition is not always easy to spot. There are some signs parents can check for to identify tongue-ties in their babies. You may be dealing with tongue-tie if your baby;

• Finds it difficult to latch to the breast
• Continuously takes short breaks while feeding
• Is not gaining weight as expected
• Has problem sticking his/her tongue out
• Has tongue which looks heart-shaped when he/she try to stick it out
• Dribbles milk during breastfeeding

Treatment

If you notice or suspect your baby has a tongue-tie and is not feeding well, it is essential to visit a professional for diagnosis. Untreated tongue-tie in babies may also affect other areas like speech, swallowing, and eating.

There are many debates about the right way to treat tongue-tie. Sometimes, a tongue-tie is asymptomatic and the tongue-tied baby can feed without any problem. For some, you need to learn ways to readjust your breast and position your baby. However, in some cases, a doctor may decide that clipping the tongue-tie is the best solution. Frenotomy in young babies involves cutting the frenulum without anesthesia (or with a local anesthesia). Before tongue-tie clipping is done, you will need to discuss with your doctor to decide if it is the best for your baby’s nutrition.

Reference:
1) Edmunds J, Miles SC, Fulbrook P. Tongue-tie and breastfeeding: a review of the literature. Breastfeed Rev. 2011. Mar;19(1):19-26.

Why Do I Have Hemorrhoids And Varicose Veins In Pregnancy?

Hemorrhoids and varicose veins may seem unrelated but they are quite similar complications that pregnant women face, especially during the third trimester. Both hemorrhoids and varicose veins are swollen twisted veins. These veins are often formed in the legs but when they are formed in other parts of the body such as the rectum, they are called hemorrhoids.

Veins are normally known to have one-way valves that direct blood flow towards the heart. However, sometimes, pressure or weakening of these valves instead allows blood to go back up and pool in the veins, thereby causing them to enlarge and become varicose veins. For pregnant women, the heavyweight of the growing baby could press on the large blood vessels in the pelvis, thereby causing the smaller veins in the pelvis and legs to swell.

Hemorrhoids on the other hand results when the rectal veins enlarge and swell. The condition can get worst with pushing and straining when constipated. If a woman is overweight or has had a hemorrhoid before, it can get worst during pregnancy. Also, when a woman pushes during delivery, her hemorrhoids likely worsens.

Some pregnant women are more prone to having varicose veins than others. For instance, if it runs in your family, it’s easy for you to also have it during pregnancy. More so, pregnant women who sit or stand in one position for too long may force their veins to work harder to pump blood to their hearts. The result is often swollen varicose veins and it can also aggravate already existing hemorrhoids.

It is worth noting that hemorrhoids can be internal or external, and while internal hemorrhoids always form inside the rectum, external hemorrhoids are often located outside, notably around the opening of the anus. The main symptom of an internal hemorrhoid is bright red blood in stool, whereas external hemorrhoids can be itchy, painful and could easily bleed if irritated by straining or wiping.

The symptoms of varicose veins always appear as large blue veins on the legs. Pregnant women may also experience mild swellings in their legs, feet or ankles and throbbing or a feeling of heaviness in their legs. Leg cramps are also associated with varicose veins.

Hemorrhoids in pregnancy are usually temporal and often go away a few weeks after delivery. Moreover, there are a few things that can help reduce the discomfort caused by this condition. For instance, you could use ice water or cold compresses to reduce the swelling. You can also apply prescribed creams and ointments that are safe to use during pregnancy. In general, the best way to avoid hemorrhoids is to prevent constipation and you can do so by adding lots of fiber and fluids in your diet.

Everything You Need To Know About Kegel Exercise

Kegel exercise, also known as pelvic floor exercises are very valuable to the day-to-day life of pregnant women. These exercises are simply clench and release exercises that are geared towards strengthening the muscles and tissues at the bottom of the pelvis. During pregnancy and childbirth, the muscles of the pelvic floor usually expand, but the good news is that if kegel exercise is properly done, there will be minimal stretching. Kegel exercise can actually make it possible for the muscles in the vaginal and pelvic area to become strong again after childbirth.

According to studies, a regular kegel routine during pregnancy is important as it strengthens those muscles that are needed for labor, thereby minimizing the risk of postpartum incontinence. It is worth noting that kegel exercise do not only support the reproductive organs nor control bladder and bowel functions, but they also go a long way to prevent pelvic organ prolapse as well as other related symptoms. Moreover, kegel exercise can result in a tighter vaginal muscles which makes sex more pleasurable.

Before indulging in kegel exercises, you must, first of all, identify the pelvic muscles that should be clenching. To do this, you have to go to the toilet and simply stop urination midway before letting it flow again. Bear in mind that the muscles you are using to suddenly stop urinating are the exact muscles that are expected to be strengthened through kegel exercises. Once you have successfully identified these muscles, the next thing is to learn how to incorporate kegel exercise into your daily routine. What is important here is to learn how to contract these muscles at length while simultaneously relaxing.

When doing kegel exercise, it’s imperative to start performing from the back (anus) to the front (vagina). If you are doing it correctly, you can be sure to feel a somewhat gentle contraction with flattening of the lower abs.

The intensity or frequency of kegel exercise can help maintain a good fitness level often depends on several factors, including whether or not you are rehabilitating from an injury, or dealing with conditions such as stress incontinence or pelvic pain.

In the absence of any symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunctions, the steps of doing kegel exercise the right way are as follows;
• Contract or tighten the pelvic muscles for around 3 seconds;
• Take a 3 seconds rest;
• Ensure that you do two sets of 10-15 kegel exercises on a daily basis;
• Make sure that you alternate with quick contractions of 2 sets of 10-15 on the other days.

Lastly, do always check with your doctor before you do kegel exercise during pregnancy.

How To Help Your Muscles To Recover From Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti is a postpartum condition where the large left and right abdominal muscles separate, thereby causing a round protruded tummy. This, therefore, implies that if your stomach is still big months after delivery, diastasis recti could be the culprit.

Diastasis recti has been associated with hormonal changes and the ever-expanding uterus during pregnancy. This can be explained by the fact that during the gestation period, the alba linea (connective tissues) always thins out as a result of changes in hormonal levels in a bid to accommodate the ever-enlarging uterus. But, after delivery, the thinning generally improves especially when the hormone levels return to the pre-pregnancy state. However, in some cases, the tissues get so stretched out during pregnancy that they lose their elasticity as well as the ability to return back to their original position. The result is usually a bulging stomach that is medically known as diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti has no symptoms, but there may be a bulge in the middle of the stomach, which might only be noticeable during activities like coughing. Anyone can suffer from diastasis recti, but the risk is higher in women over 35 years old, women who have multiple pregnancies and those who delivered a high birth weight baby.

In addition, petite women, women who have had more than one pregnancy, women with poor muscle tone and women who carry their babies later in life are also at a high risk of developing diastasis recti. Women who have had diastasis recti in their previous pregnancies are also likely to develop the condition again.

It is possible to prevent diastasis recti during pregnancy by doing those helpful exercises that help in strengthening the abdomen and preparing the entire body for labor and postpartum recovery.

Women are generally advised to consult with a medical professional before returning to exercises aimed to reverse diastasis recti. It is actually unhealthy to indulge in running exercises less than three months after giving birth. Having said that, here are few exercises that can help reverse diastasis recti;
· Pelvic floor exercises such as kegel
· Exercises such as swimming, stationary biking, and gentle walks
· Gently resistance exercises like squats
· Gentle abdominal exercises like knee rolls and pelvic tilting

Diastasis recti can also be treated through physiotherapy and in rare cases, cosmetic surgeries may be performed to reduce the bulge.

Everything You Need To Know About Your Urine Color During Pregnancy

Changes in urine color are pretty normal during pregnancy. Inasmuch as a change in urine color can be a sign of pregnancy, it could also be as a result of a problem during pregnancy. Normal urine color always ranges from very light almost transparent yellow to a slightly darker shade of yellow. However, during pregnancy there can be a pronounced change in the color of urine as it can range from an intense bright yellow to a darker, shade of yellow.

The color of urine is normally determined by a pigment called urobilin. And the appearance of this pigment often depends on the consistency of the urine. Therefore, it explains why the pigment of your urine is always a lighter shade when you are hydrated and darker when it’s concentrated. That said, the other factors that can influence the color of urine during pregnancy include:

1.) A change of diet
It is imperative for pregnant women to eat healthily. When a pregnant woman switches to a healthy diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other healthy foods, her urine color could change as well.

2.) Vitamins and medications
Pregnant women often take prenatal vitamins and supplements to keep themselves and their babies healthy. However, because their bodies cannot totally break down the vitamins, some are discarded from the body in the form of a darker shade of urine. If you are sure the change in the color of your urine is as a result of a change of diet or vitamins, then there is no cause for alarm.

3.) Dehydration
Dehydration is another culprit for a change in urine color during pregnancy. It’s normal for some pregnant women to experience dehydration even when they have been drinking more than enough water. This is particularly the case with women who have severe morning sickness characterized by nausea, vomiting and weight loss. Of course, this can also result in changes in the color of urine.

4.) Diseases and infections
Certain infections such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTI), Urinary bladder infections as well as kidney disease may also cause the color of urine to change during pregnancy. But of course, most of these conditions have other symptoms aside from changes in the color of urine.

It is of utmost importance to conduct urine tests from time to time during pregnancy. This will help in detecting possible conditions that require further tests and treatments.

Week 23

Week 23 is an exciting week for most ladies out there as the baby bump becomes visible at this stage. This week, the baby starts looking like a human. Week 23 is the time when the baby fees real as the baby looks like a human at this stage.

Is Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or not before pregnancy, as soon as you saw the two lines on the pregnancy test stick, you immediately became cautious in every move, fearing any wrong movement would harm the precious little cargo in your womb. Indeed, healthcare providers discourage exercises for the first trimester.

10 Things About 2nd Trimester

After passing the first trimester of pregnancy you have finally survived the most difficult period of pregnancy with morning sickness, nausea, vomiting, mood swings and many other symptoms repeatedly. Let’s have a look at 10 things about the second trimester of pregnancy:

Physical Changes During Pregnancy

Your body goes through enormous physical changes during pregnancy. Some of these physical changes may cause aches and pains as well as discomforts. Luckily there are a few tips and tricks that can hopefully make going through such physical changes easier.

Make Your Pregnancy a Healthy One

A healthy pregnancy not only benefits your growing baby, but also benefits you. This all starts with a healthy diet.  A healthy diet is vital when you are pregnant. There is no magic trick to a “pregnancy diet”. A balanced diet is all that you (and your baby!) need.