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Boy with Sickle Cell Anemia Saved by Sibling’s Cord Blood

This is a real story from South Africa.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvcvKWLSh5Y

8-year-old Kamsiyochukwu was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia when he was merely one. Sickle cell anaemia is a life-threatening blood disorder in which the body has insufficient healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen. Besides experiencing symptoms such as periodic attacks of pain and frequent infections, patients may have complications, including stroke and organ damage. “Sickle cell disease is not a disease of one person. It is a disease that affects the whole family because you cannot be at peace when your child is sick or having pain,” said Blessing Ezenwa, mother of Kamsiyochukwu.

After receiving countless blood transfusions for numerous years, his doctor recommended a stem cell transplant as a potential cure for the condition. As his mother decided to bank her younger child’s cord blood at birth, Kamsiyochukwu could undergo a transplant with the stored cord blood in January 2020. “The product was delivered to us as planned at Apollo Hospital. Everything has been good since the transplant,” added Blessing.

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.

What is the APGAR Score?

APGAR is a quick test that is usually performed on newborns when they are 1 and 5 minutes. old. These tests are often performed to assess the baby’s overall health condition. The test performed one minute after birth determines how well the baby tolerated labor whereas that performed at 5 minutes indicates how well the baby is thriving out of the womb.

The APGAR test particularly focuses on five major categories, including breathing effort (respiration), heart rate (pulse), muscle tone (activity), reflexes and skin color. For each category, the baby can score from zero (0) to two (2) points, depending on his condition. However, the overall APGAR test is ten (10), given that each category gives a maximum of two points.

The test is usually done by a doctor, nurse or midwife and points are awarded as follows:

Breathing/Respiratory

  •         Zero (0) point if the baby is not breathing at all
  •         One (1) point if the breathing is slow, irregular, and coupled with weak crying.
  •         Two (2) points if the infant cries well.

Heart rate / Pulse

  •         Zero (0) point if there is no heart activity
  •         One (1) point if the heartbeat is less than 100 per minute
  •         Two (2) points if the heartbeat is greater than 100 per minute.

Muscle tone / Activity

  •         Zero (0) point for loose and floppy muscles
  •         One (1) point for loose muscle activity
  •         Two points (2) for active movement.

Reflexes

  •         Zero (0) point if there is no reaction to simulation
  •         One point (1) if there is some facial movement and reaction to stimulation
  •         Two (2) points if there is crying, coughing, sneezing and ability to react to stimulation.

Skin Color

  •         Zero (0) point if the baby’s skin is pale, blue or bluish-grey
  •         One (1) point if the baby’s color is pink with blue extremities
  •         Two (2) points if the baby’s skin is pink all over.

An APGAR score of 7 is reassuring while a score of between 4 and 6 is considered moderately abnormal. Scores of 0 to 5 are extremely concerning and such babies often need interventions such as oxygen or could be transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit.

Although the APGAR score determines how well the baby is thriving immediately after birth, it doesn’t reflect the baby’s overall health in the long run.

Caffeine During Pregnancy

Cаffеіnе is a drug found in thіngѕ lіkе coffee, tea, ѕоdа, сhосоlаtе аnd ѕоmе energy drіnkѕ and mеdісіnеѕ. It’ѕ a ѕtіmulаnt, whісh mеаnѕ іt can kеер you awake.

 

Hоw dоеѕ caffeine affect уоu and your baby during рrеgnаnсу?

Caffeine ѕlіghtlу increases your blооd рrеѕѕurе аnd hеаrt rаtе, аnd thе amount оf urіnе уоur body mаkеѕ. Cаffеіnе mау cause уоu tо feel jіttеrу, hаvе іndіgеѕtіоn оr have trouble sleeping. During рrеgnаnсу, уоu may bе especially sensitive to саffеіnе because it mау tаkе you longer to сlеаr it from уоur bоdу thаn іf уоu wеrеn’t pregnant.  It mау аlѕо mаkе уоu fееl nauseous or lіghthеаdеd.

When уоu hаvе caffeine during рrеgnаnсу, іt раѕѕеѕ through the placenta tо your baby. Thе рlасеntа grоwѕ іn уоur uterus (wоmb) and ѕuррlіеѕ the bаbу wіth fооd аnd oxygen through the umbilical соrd.

Yоu mау have hеаrd thаt tоо muсh саffеіnе саn саuѕе mіѕсаrrіаgе (when a bаbу dіеѕ іn thе wоmb bеfоrе 20 wееkѕ оf рrеgnаnсу), preterm birth (bіrth thаt happens bеfоrе 37 weeks оf рrеgnаnсу іѕ соmрlеtеd) or lоw birth wеіght (whеn уоur baby іѕ born wеіghіng lеѕѕ thаn 5 роundѕ, 8 ounces). Some ѕtudіеѕ say thіѕ іѕ true, аnd оthеrѕ dоn’t.

It’ѕ bеѕt tо lіmіt thе аmоunt уоu get tо 200 mіllіgrаmѕ each dау. This іѕ about thе аmоunt in 1½ 8-ounce cups оf coffee or оnе 12-оunсе cup оf соffее.  Bе ѕurе tо сhесk the ѕіzе оf your сuр to knоw how muсh саffеіnе уоu’rе gеttіng.

If уоu are pregnant or breastfeeding, consuming uр to 200mg a day іѕ safe for уоur baby.

The аррrоxіmаtе аmоuntѕ of саffеіnе found іn fооd аnd drіnkѕ are:

  • 1 сuр оf instant соffее: 60mg
  • 1 ѕhоt оf espresso coffee: 100mg
  • 1 сuр оf рlungеr соffее: 80mg
  • 1 сuр of tеа: 30mg
  • 375ml саn оf соlа: 49mg
  • 250ml саn оf еnеrgу drіnk: 80mg
  • 100g bаr оf mіlk chocolate: 20mg

 

Decaffeinated drinks usually соntаіn little оr nо саffеіnе. However, enеrgу drіnkѕ аrе nоt recommended durіng рrеgnаnсу аѕ it mау contain high lеvеlѕ of саffеіnе, аnd other ingredients not rесоmmеndеd fоr pregnant wоmеn.

 

Cаffеіnе іn раіnkіllеrѕ

Sоmе раіnkіllеrѕ іnсludе саffеіnе, including some tуреѕ оf раrасеtаmоl. Tablets that hаvе соmbіnеd paracetamol and саffеіnе аrе not recommended. Thе раtіеnt іnfоrmаtіоn leaflet wіll tеll уоu hоw muсh paracetamol and саffеіnе аrе іn еасh tаblеt. Fіnd out mоrе about раіnkіllеrѕ аnd рrеgnаnсу.

 

Caffeine and breastfeeding

The Amеrісаn Aсаdеmу of Pеdіаtrісѕ (AAP) says it’s ѕаfе fоr brеаѕtfееdіng mоmѕ to hаvе caffeine.1 A ѕmаll аmоunt оf саffеіnе dоеѕ get іntо brеаѕt mіlk, ѕо lіmіt саffеіnе іf уоu’rе breastfeeding. Brеаѕtfеd babies оf women whо drіnk more thаn 2 to 3 cups of соffее a day mау bесоmе more awake and fuѕѕу.  Yоu mау want to drіnk lеѕѕ саffеіnе іf уоur bаbу wаѕ born preterm or nеwbоrn because ѕhе may dіgеѕt саffеіnе mоrе ѕlоwlу.

Finally, always tаlk tо уоur midwife, рhаrmасіѕt оr hеаlthсаrе provider before tаkіng аnу medicines during рrеgnаnсу.

 

Reference:

1) Breastfeeding and Caffeine. Kellymom Website. https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/caffeine/.  Last accessed December 15, 2021.

Why Do You Deserve a Babymoon

Pregnancy comes with tons of emotions including anxiety, joy and nervousness that can be overwhelming. It’s ok to make your pregnancy as memorable as possible because it doesn’t happen too often. While many women take the time to plan for their baby showers and gender reveal parties, others invest their energy in planning a beautiful babymoon.

A babymoon is a special vacation pregnant women take to experience a beautiful moment. A babymoon is similar to a honeymoon, but as honeymoon happens immediately after marriage, a babymoon happens during pregnancy.

You can go on a babymoon to any destination of your choice and with whomever you feel comfortable sharing those moments with. But consider limiting your babymoon vacations to places that are safe and healthy for you and your crew. Also, ensure that you do not do strenuous physical activities like hiking or mountain climbing while you are on your babymoon. Such activities may take a toll on your health. It’s also preferable to go on a babymoon when you are in the second trimester of your pregnancy because for most women, it’s the easiest phase of their pregnancy, with little to no morning sickness.

There are many exciting reasons to go on a babymoon. First of all, it’s a special time to bond with your unborn child and maybe your partner. Let’s be honest, having a new baby can eat deep into your income and schedule, making it difficult for you to plan a getaway. A babymoon is therefore a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with your partner or anyone you cherish while anticipating the arrival of your baby.

Going for a babymoon will also make it possible for you to relax. After all, it’s a vacation where you leave everything, primarily work, and just focus on yourself. Such a vacation will give you ample time to relax while preparing for all the challenges that lie in front of you especially if you are a first-time mom. You will probably return from your babymoon more energized and prepared for motherhood.

Above all, a babymoon is also an opportunity for adventures. Consider it an opportunity to discover new places or visit your dream destination.

Remember there is no particular way of enjoying a babymoon, so plan it however you want, as long as you are taking your health condition and your unborn baby into consideration.

6 Things to Know About Your Scorpio Baby

Scorpio babies are introverts, so it’s tough to bring them up. But nothing to worry about as we will share with you a complete guideline to help you understand your Scorpio baby. These babies love cheering up others and also need attention from their loved ones. If you have a Scorpio baby, then you must know about the key traits of Scorpio babies. The following 6 things will help you understand your Scorpio baby.

1. They like privacy
A Scorpio baby may seem calm from outside, but a lot of things might be running on his/her inside. Scorpio babies don’t share their emotions with others and it takes a lot of effort to show them. Also, they want everyone to respect their privacy. They remain reserved for the outer world and only have a few friends in their circle. These babies love spending maximum time all alone.

2. They want comfort and love
Scorpio babies crave for cuddles. They want comfort and affection from their close ones. Your Scorpio baby will hate sleeping alone and is bad at self-soothing. So be ready to let your Scorpio baby sleep next to you in the same bed. He or she will be protective of their beloved ones and things they love. Also, a Scorpio baby will get jealous if you hold another baby in your arms. These babies don’t like sharing their toys with other infants.

3. They love darkness
A Scorpio kid loves the dark and likes to stay in a bedroom with no or less light. The imagination ability of a Scorpio baby can be greatly boosted when he or she is in a dark room. They believe mysteries happen in the dark that’s why they use this time for exploring their imagination.

4. They are loyal
Scorpio kids are best at keeping secrets and remain loyal to their loved ones. Additionally, they will also demand others to remain loyal to their promises. Also, they will seem cold and hostile towards strangers.

5. They are born intelligent
Scorpio babies are born intelligent and love questioning their elders. So, expect them to ask strange questions from you when they learn to speak. Regardless of the question, always be honest with the answer otherwise your baby will use his/her imagination to find answers.

6. They are determined
They are determined and cannot easily be swayed. For instance, if your Scorpio baby wakes up in a bad mood, then he/she will remain sad throughout the day despite your efforts to cheer him/her up.

6 Things to Know About Your Virgo Baby

Wondering what are the personality traits of a Virgo baby? Well don’t you worry because we have compiled all the personality traits that parents should know about for their baby. If you are skeptical, you must find out some of the major personality traits in the list below. Check the following personality traits of a Virgo baby below.

1. Virgo babies are super helpful
Most of the Virgo people have this personality trait that they are super helpful, which is a good trait to have. Helping people will always provide you with compassion, love, and more. It is a great way for the kids to learn and how important it is to share with others and to help others.

2. Virgo babies are perfectionists
Another thing that you will find in most of the Virgo people is that they give attention to detail. They are more interested in perfecting things. They want to know every detail about everything. Some of the times it can be a great habit to have but most of the times it can be annoying for some people.

3. They can be bossy
One of the negative personality traits is that they can be bossy. This is the type of personality trait that can be really helpful for the kids to learn the leadership skills but initially it can be difficult for the people to handle such bossy attitude. Having the leadership quality is always better but you must make sure that you teach them to be compassionate and learn more than being just bossy around other people.

4. Hardworking and inquisitive
One of the most positive personality traits in the Virgo babies is that they are hardworking. They can be the ones who are the silent hustlers who do not talk about things a lot but keep hustling for better and bigger. This is definitely a better personality trait that people and specially the mothers can polish if they know about it. The positive attitude and support can turn your Virgo baby into a great mind.

5. Virgos can be shy and modest
If you are a mother of a Virgo baby, you would have noticed that your Virgo baby is a bit shy. It is OK to be shy and modest but make sure that you are polishing their skills and you are helping them to be expressive. This will not only help them and support them to become a better version of themselves but also to show how capable they are.

6. Virgo babies are responsible
You cannot expect them to drink and drive. These are the most punctual and responsible kids. So if you are worried about your Virgo baby to be any other regular teenager who is reckless then you might be a little wrong. These Virgo babies are responsible and know what they want to do and what they should do.

How to Choose a Car Seat

When you shop for your newborn, you should be intentional about getting items that will protect your baby against harm. A car seat happens to be one of those crucial purchases if you own a vehicle and be on the road all the times. Although almost all car seats in the market have been tested and approved, you should be able to pick one that’s best for you and your lifestyle. Here are the main things you should look out for when buying a car seat.

1. Age appropriate
Car seats are designed to suit children of different ages. For example, there are car seats made exclusively for newborns, toddlers, and older children of up to 12 years old. Therefore, you must consider your child’s age and height when choosing a car seat. While some car seats are adjustable with upper limits to accommodate your growing baby, it’s still your responsibility as a parent to upgrade to the next step whenever your child outgrows a particular car seat.

2. Comfort
As a parent, you want your baby to be comfortable at all times. Undeniably, you want to choose a car seat that will keep your baby comfortable while you are focused on driving. Some of the comfortable features to look for in a car seat include adjustable reclining position, adaptive side impact protection, enough space for your baby’s legs, and adjustable height.

3. Easy installation
Another important thing to consider when choosing a car seat is ease of use. Let’s face it, being a parent is not easy especially when you have other things like work, business or school to handle. Therefore, your best bet is to get a car seat that can be installed in a few minutes whenever you want to switch cars. Ensure that you get a car seat with quick and clear indications on how to install it in your car.

4. Adaptable to your car
It is also imperative for you to choose a car seat that can conveniently fit in your car. This also means that you should know your car, so you can in turn choose a car seat that will fit in it properly. Take time to check your car’s child-safety sections while paying attention to features such as the size and types of belts, seats, and latch.

5. Durability
Like with other baby accessories, you should endeavour to get a car seat that is made with durable material that can last for many years.

How to Choose a Baby Cot

A baby cot is one of those important purchases mothers-to-be always make before the arrival of their newborn. Having the right cot is as crucial to many expectant mothers as choosing the perfect room colors are. There are indeed many types of baby cots available in different brands, but that could be a topic of its own. Our focus right now are the things to take into consideration when picking the perfect cot for your bundle of joy.

1. Safety
The importance of choosing a baby cot that guarantees your baby’s safety can never be overemphasized. Therefore, you should choose a cot that is made with non-toxic materials, including non-toxic wood and paint. Remember that babies love to chew on anything, especially when they are teething, so you must ensure that they do not ingest anything that can cause harm to their body system. In addition, a safe baby cot should have the following features:

• Deep enough to prevent your child from falling;
• A mattress that fits perfectly around all sides;
• No spaces for head, hand or limb entrapment;
• No sharp or protruding parts where your baby could harm himself.

2. Easy to use
It is important to buy a cot that you can easily assemble without any hitches. Getting a cot that has wheels is practical as you could easily switch its position in the room. Moreover, you should consider getting a cot with adjustable height. Remember babies grow so fast and you will have to adjust the cot height by making it deeper as your baby grows. This is also to prevent the baby from leaving the cot when he is left unattended.

3. Durability
Unlike other baby accessories that are often replaced several times, cots are mostly a one-time item. Therefore, you should ensure that the chosen cot is made with top-quality woods like pine and beech that guarantees its durability over the years. Rest assured that it’s possible to use one solid cot made with durable wood for all your children! You can pass a cot from one child to another as long as it’s in a good state. A pro tip of buying a durable cot is to choose one that adheres to the safety standards of your country.

4. Affordability
Above all, you should settle for the best cot you can afford. Several durable and relatively cheaper cots can be bought both online and offline, so rest assured you can get a good one without breaking the bank.

Mommy Saab’s Word on Cord Blood Banking

More and more mommies are learning better about the benefits of cord blood and cord blood banking! Now let’s also find out why Cordlife continues to earn the trust of a growing number of Filipino families!

Join Mommy Saab Magalona-Bacarro once again in an informative True or False game with Cordlife Mom Anna Tantuico-Herrera and first-time mom-to-be, Mommy Danielle Brimo-Stern!

 

Week 32

With the beginning of week 32, you are done with most of your task of carrying a baby. You are only two months away from delivering a baby and making an addition to your family. You might feel anxious or excited at the same times regarding the childbirth as you are about to deliver the bundle of joy.

No Pain, No Gain

While some mothers have managed very well without any kind of pain relief, not everyone has the same level of threshold for pain. Because of this, opting for medication for pain during the delivery is one of the things you should determine before you go into the delivery room or an option that you should note in your birth plan.