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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.

Is It Safe To Have an X-ray During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a complex phase that requires you to take great care of yourself by eating right, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and also observing basic hygiene  to protect you and your unborn baby from infections. Pregnant women typically visit the hospital or health care providers several times from the first trimester until  when their baby is born.

Just like drugs, diagnostic x-rays and radiations in the abdominal area should be done with precaution during pregnancy. At some point in your pregnancy, your doctor may require a diagnostic x-ray to get important and life-saving information about your medical condition.

Of course, diagnostic X-rays have their risks, as they could cause harm to your unborn child but they can sometimes be unavoidable, especially if you show symptoms of life-threatening conditions that require immediate treatment. The truth is that X-rays can be paramount, especially if they will give your doctor pertinent information that is needed to treat you.

The risk of harming your unborn baby through an X-ray greatly depends on a few factors. X-rays performed on your legs, head, hands, teeth or chest will rarely pose any risk to your baby because your reproductive organs are not exposed to the direct X-ray beam. Besides, you will most likely wear a lead apron during the procedure to protect you against radiation. On the other hand, an abdominal x-ray can expose both your belly and unborn baby to the direct beam and this could be dangerous to your baby.

The extent of the damage on your unborn child will also depend on the gestational age of the pregnancy, and the amount of radiation it is exposed to. There are indications that exposure to high doses of radiation during the first two weeks of conception could cause a miscarriage, while exposure at two to eight weeks of pregnancy could result in fetal growth restrictions and birth defects. Your child could also be born with intellectual and learning disabilities if the unborn baby was exposed to radiation between eight to sixteen weeks of gestation.

The possibility of harming your unborn baby through an x-ray is slim and the benefits of a diagnostic x-ray by far outweighs the potential risk it could cause to your baby. That said, you should always express your concern to your doctor if he requests an x-ray while you are pregnant. Ask your doctor if the x-ray could be postponed or be modified to reduce radiation in a bid to protect your unborn baby. You should also talk to your health care provider if you had a diagnostic X-ray before you found out you were pregnant.

5 Natural Remedies for Cold During Pregnancy

Catching a cold during pregnancy is not pleasant at all. Typically, pregnant women are not susceptible to cold because a woman’s immune system tends to get stronger during pregnancy. However,  sore throat and runny nose along with other symptoms of cold can occur and cause extreme discomfort during pregnancy. Although over-the-counter medications can relieve symptoms of cold, they are not considered safe in pregnancy. The best way to relieve your symptoms while ensuring your baby is safe is to use natural remedies

The following are 5 safe and natural remedies for cold during pregnancy:

1) Drink plenty of fluids and rest

Hydrating is one of the best natural remedies for cold during pregnancy. Fluids help to relieve nasal congestion and improve metabolic activity to enable the body to defend itself more effectively against the cold. Warm water, smoothies, or broth work just fine. You’ll also need plenty of rest to allow your body to recover. Try to sleep for at least 8 hours a night and take at least two 20-minute naps during the day. Adequate rest boosts the immune system, allowing your body to combat cold-causing bacteria and viruses.

2) Garlic

Garlic contains cold-fighting compounds that can help get rid of cold in pregnancy. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties make it an effective remedy for cold-causing bacteria and viruses. Simply take two cloves of fresh garlic with warm water in the morning or peel a clove and suck on it for 5 minutes. You can also cook your meals with crushed garlic for cold-relieving benefits.

3) Honey and lemon

Honey and lemon is an effective combination of relieving cold during pregnancy. Honey soothes the throat while lemon helps to bust up congestion. Add a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of lemon juice to a glass of warm water. The vitamin C in lemon juice boosts your immune system to help the body defend itself against cold during pregnancy.

4) Get a massage

An antenatal massage improves blood circulation in the body and relieves tension to help the body defend itself against the cold. Besides, it prompts the body to release endorphins that work to boost your immune system to help you fight off cold during pregnancy. A combination of peppermint, lavender, and thyme essential oils work best to alleviate the symptoms of cold.  The massage should be done by a therapist who is certified in antenatal massage. After the massage, be sure to drink more fluids to replenish what was lost during the massage.

5) Herbal steam

Herbal steam made with thyme, rosemary, and oregano can help to open a blocked nose. Pour hot water into a large bowl or basin and add dry herbs. Drape a towel over your head and breathe deeply in the steam for 10 minutes. Herbal steam packs an anti-viral and antibacterial punch, and the hot water helps to release potent oils that relieve nasal congestion.

Should the cold symptoms persist, you should talk to a doctor as soon as possible for proper medication.

Improvements Seen after Boy Received Own Cord Blood

This is a real story from Ukraine.

3-year-old Maksim was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder after he started to show symptoms of developmental delay. He could neither respond to speech nor concentrate his attention. He could also hardly recognize his own parents.

“In a constant search for new methods of treating autism, in the social media, I came across a video lecture by an obstetrician on the treatment of autism with stem cells,” said Maksim’s mother, Olga.

Using the cord blood Olga stored for Maksim at birth, Maksim was put on a treatment. The day after receiving his own cord blood, some changes in Maksim’s behavior were visible and he even started to babble.

“Within a few weeks, Maksim began to focus his eyes, listen to the speech of others, and try to speak,” Olga recalls.

 

This story is originally published on Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation. https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/maksims-cord-blood-therapy-autism

Last accessed 9 April 2021.

Will Diabetes Return After Delivery?

Pregnancy is a complicated phase that can bring several health conditions. Gestational diabetes is one of those conditions that can be common amongst pregnant women. So, have you been diagnosed with gestational diabetes? If yes, you don’t need to get all nervous and afraid given that an estimated 90% of gestational diabetes resolves on its own after delivery.

That said, your health care providers will check your blood sugar levels several times before you are discharged from the hospital after childbirth. You will then be informed if your gestational diabetes has resolved or if it’s persisting. Of course, medical follow-up is bound to continue with your glucose being checked at about six to eight months after delivering your baby.

Women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing Type II diabetes. According to statistics about two to three per cent of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes develop type II diabetes after delivery. However, you can reduce the risk of having type II diabetes after gestational diabetes by;

Controlling your weight: Women who fail to control their weight after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at a high risk of developing Type II diabetes later in life and gestational diabetes during their next pregnancy. Of course, the best way to control your weight is to eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.

Breastfeeding your baby: Breastfeeding brings many benefits including strengthening the immune system of babies and protecting them against infections. But that’s not all, breastfeeding also lowers the risks of certain conditions, like breast cancer and Type II diabetes in mothers.

Continue with all your medication and follow-up.
Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing type II diabetes. Therefore, you need to continue to follow up with your doctor and perform all your blood tests to be sure you are free from diabetes.

Watch out for the symptoms of Type II diabetes: Above all, you should take charge of your health by watching out for the symptoms of Type II diabetes. Some common symptoms of type II diabetes include frequent urination, fatigue, increased thirst for water and fluids as well as unintentional weight loss. Note that having one or more of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have diabetes, but it’s important to report the symptoms to your healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis.

Overall, gestational diabetes always resolves on its own in about 90 per cent of women after they give birth. But then you need proper medical follow-up after delivering to be sure it hasn’t persisted and if it has, you will be putting on the right treatment plan.

Stem Cell Therapy Helped My Son

This is a real story from the United States.

13-year-old Colt was born prematurely at 24 weeks of gestation and he was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy and autism. Although Colt was not severely handicapped, he had persistent deficits such as extreme sensitivity to sensory overload.

When the family’s second child was born a few years later, Colt’s parents wanted to enroll him in a Duke University clinical trial with his sibling’s cord blood. Sadly, Colt was too old by then to be accepted into the trial so his parents continued to search for other options.

After learning more about stem cell therapy from a book by Dr. Neil Riordan, Stem Cell Therapy: How Stem Cells are Disrupting Medicine and Transforming Lives: A Rising Tide, Colt’s parents decided to bring him to Panama Stem Cell Institute for intravenous infusions of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from umbilical cord tissue. Colt was 11 by then.

Both Colt’s expressive and receptive language showed a 35% improvement after the first trip. He no longer has the balance or sensory sensitivities issue. He can now ride a bike without training wheels and has gained sense of self-awareness and self-confidence.

This story is originally published on Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation. https://parentsguidecordblood.org/en/news/cord-tissue-msc-helped-my-adolescent-son

Last accessed 9 April 2021.

What is Non Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT)?

Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT), also known as non-invasive prenatal screening is a highly accurate test that is conducted to determine if your baby is at risk for genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, and Patau syndromeas early as 10th week of gestation. This test is done by screening a blood sample from the mother to pinpoint the baby’s risk for disorders and chromosomal abnormalities.

During pregnancy, tiny pieces of cell-free DNA (known as fetus’ DNA) passes into the mother’s bloodstream. The non-invasive prenatal test analyzes the cell-free DNA to obtain information about the genetic health of your developing baby. This test can also reveal the sex of your baby in the first trimester. This test is considered noninvasive as it utilizes a blood sample from the mother and does not pose any risk to the fetus.

This test is very accurate, especially in determining cases of Down syndrome. It can also predict whether the risk of genetic disorders is high or low. However, Non-Invasive Prenatal Test is still a screening test—not a diagnostic test. This means that it can only determine if there’s an increased risk for a genetic condition, but it cannot diagnose a genetic condition with certainty.

How non-invasive prenatal test is done?
This test doesn’t involve any complicated procedures. Maternal blood is drawn by a phlebotomist and sent to a specific lab where it will be analyzed for results. Once the results have been obtained, they will be sent to your doctor. It usually takes 10-14 days to get the results of your NIPT. The doctor may pair them with the results of your first trimester to determine whether further testing is needed.

Who should get a non-invasive prenatal test?
This test is recommended for persons with risk factors for certain genetic conditions. This may include persons with a family history of chromosomal abnormality and those aged 35 or older at delivery. It may also be recommended for a person who has had a baby previously with a chromosomal condition.

How much does the non-invasive prenatal test cost?
Typically, the cost of NIPT ranges from PHP 21,500-P38,500. However, this may vary depending on where the test is performed.

If you’re considering getting a non-invasive prenatal test, you should first consult with your doctor.

Whеn Cаn I Hear Mу Bаbу’ѕ Heartbeat?

Hеаrіng a bаbу’ѕ heartbeat fоr the fіrѕt time іѕ an exciting mіlеѕtоnе fоr nеw раrеntѕ-tо-bе. Hеаrіng your baby’s hеаrtbеаt іѕ оnе of thе most аmаzіng ѕоundѕ уоu wіll еvеr hеаr. Sеrіоuѕlу, I mеаn, іt will tаkе your brеаth аwау, еѕресіаllу іf уоu саn ѕее аnd hеаr thе heartbeat durіng an ultrаѕоund. Nothing іn thе wоrld can ѕоund ѕwееtеr tо a nеw mom-to-be, especially one wоrrіеd аbоut thеіr growing bundle оf jоу.

Whеn dоеѕ a bаbу hаvе a hеаrtbеаt?
A bаbу’ѕ hеаrtbеаt саn be detected bу transvaginal ultrаѕоund аѕ early аѕ 3 to 4 wееkѕ after соnсерtіоn or 5 tо 6 wееkѕ аftеr thе fіrѕt dау of the lаѕt mеnѕtruаl реrіоd. Thіѕ еаrlу еmbrуоnіс hеаrtbеаt is fast, often аbоut 160-180 bеаtѕ per minute, twісе аѕ fаѕt as аdultѕ. Later the hеаrtbеаt ѕlоwѕ slightly but remains аbоut 110-160 thrоughоut fеtаl lіfе.

When can I hear mу bаbу’ѕ hеаrtbеаt?

You mау be аblе tо hеаr – аnd ѕее – thе fluttering оf cells for the fіrѕt tіmе when уоu’rе аbоut 6 weeks рrеgnаnt іf you have an еаrlу ultrаѕоund еxаm. Otherwise, you’ll probably fіrѕt hеаr уоur baby’s hеаrtbеаt wіth a fеtаl Doppler аt a rеgulаr prenatal саrе visit. How еаrlу thе sound саn bе picked up depends on уоur bаbу’ѕ position in уоur uterus, weight, аnd thе ассurасу оf уоur due dаtе. Yоur caregiver mау be аblе tо fіnd it wіth thе Doppler аѕ еаrlу as 12 wееkѕ.

Bаbу’ѕ heart rаtе
Your baby’s hеаrtbеаt ѕhоuld be bеtwееn 90-110 beats per minute (bрm) аt 6 to 7 wееkѕ. Bу thе nіnth wееk, your bаbу’ѕ heartbeat ѕhоuld reach 140-170 bрm.

Whу you mіght nоt hеаr bаbу’ѕ hеаrtbеаt?
Based on a medical publication in 1999, women with a history of recurrent miscarriage reported thаt іf a hеаrtbеаt іѕ dеtесtеd аt 6 wееkѕ, thеrе’ѕ a 78 реrсеnt сhаnсе of thе pregnancy continuing. At 8 weeks, thеrе’ѕ a 98 реrсеnt сhаnсе, and іt goes uр tо 99.4 реrсеnt аftеr 10 wееkѕ.1

You mіght not bе аblе to hear a bаbу’ѕ hеаrtbеаt at your fіrѕt ultrаѕоund. Mоѕt соmmоnlу, thіѕ is bесаuѕе іt’ѕ tоо early іn thе pregnancy. Thіѕ doesn’t necessarily mеаn thеrе’ѕ a рrоblеm.Yоur dосtоr mау rесоmmеnd уоu schedule аnоthеr ultrasound 1 to 2 wееkѕ lаtеr.

Othеr rеаѕоnѕ уоu mіght nоt hear the hеаrtbеаt include:
hаvіng a tipped utеruѕ
hаvіng a lаrgе abdomen
being lеѕѕ far аlоng thаn уоu thought

If nо hеаrtbеаt іѕ dеtесtеd, your dосtоr wіll сhесk уоur fetal mеаѕurеmеntѕ. Your doctor may bе соnсеrnеd if thеrе’ѕ nо fеtаl heartbeat іn an еmbrуо with a crown-rump lеngth greater thаn 5 millimeters.

Aftеr wееk 6, уоur dосtоr will also be соnсеrnеd іf there is no gestational ѕас. Yоur dосtоr may rеԛuеѕt a blооd test to соnfіrm the рrеgnаnсу or rеԛuеѕt уоu соmе bасk a few days lаtеr for аnоthеr ultrаѕоund.

Reference:
1) S.A. Brigham, C. Conlon, R.G. Farquharson, A longitudinal study of pregnancy outcome following idiopathic recurrent miscarriage, Human Reproduction, 1999, 14; 11, 2868–2871,

Caution To Pregnancy Spotting

Spotting is light bleeding during pregnancy. It may be pink, red or dark brown and is often noticed after using the restroom or seeing a few drops of blood on your underwear. Of course, spotting during pregnancy is typically lighter than your regular flow and is hardly enough to cover a panty liner. As terrifying as it may sound, spotting is not always an indication that something bad is wrong with the mother or fetus. Many women who experience spotting during pregnancy carry their baby to full term and eventually deliver healthy babies.

Spotting during pregnancy can actually be caused by a number of reasons, depending on how old the pregnancy is. For instance, it is estimated that about 15-25% of pregnant women experience spotting during the first trimester of pregnancy.1 That said, spotting in the first trimester is always associated with implantation bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or other unknown causes such as infections and hormonal changes. There should be no cause for concern if the spotting is a result of implantation bleeding. However, if it’s becoming severe and heavy, then there is a need to see the doctor for more investigations as ectopic pregnancy and a miscarriage require prompt medical attention.

Most often spotting in the second trimester is caused by irritation of the cervix after sex or after a cervical exam. This usually means nothing. Nevertheless, spotting during the second trimester could also be a result of a harmless growth in the cervix called a cervical polyp. Pregnant women are advised to see their doctor immediately if they experience heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy as it could be a sign of medical emergencies such as placenta previa, premature labor, and late miscarriage.

In the third trimester of pregnancy, it is normal for most women to experience light bleeding after sex or after a cervical exam. This shouldn’t be anything to worry about. However, women in the third trimester may also experience spotting due to a bloody show. A bloody show is a sign that labor is starting so there is a need to see your doctor at this juncture. That said, heavy vaginal bleeding in the third trimester requires emergency medical care as it can be caused by placenta previa, placenta abruption or vasa previa.

In a nutshell, spotting during pregnancy is common and could be caused by a number of factors. Pregnant women are advised to seek emergency care whenever they experience heavy bleeding in any trimesters they are in.

Reference:
1) Bleeding During Pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Website. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/bleeding-during-pregnancy. Last accessed April 22, 2021.

Week 6

You most probably found out that you are pregnant a few days before. You must be emotional at this stage and anxious at the same time. You’ll definitely experience some discomforting symptoms during this stage.
The embryo at six weeks starts developing various features although the embryo is still small. The organs and various systems have started to take some shape.

Morning Sickness Causes and Cures

Morning sickness is marked by nausea and occasional vomiting. It may also cause discomfort during the later hours of the day. These symptoms usually present themselves in expectant moms during the first four months. It’s actually one of the signs of pregnancy.

10 Things About 1st Trimester

With the first visit to your gynecologist after being pregnant, you’ll definitely experience several changes within your body. Here we have listed down the most common 10 things about the first trimester of pregnancy which is mostly experienced by women: