Considering banking your baby’s cord blood? Get the facts you need in this quick educational video from our partner, CBR. Jennifer Arnold is a neonatologist at Texas Children's Hospital, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, and co-star of the Learning Channel's The Little Couple.
The promising field of stem cell research is prompting more parents to store their newborns’ umbilical cord blood. Cord blood is rich in blood-forming stem cells and is currently used in transplants for some patients with leukemia, lymphoma, immune deficiencies and inheritedmetabolic disorders. Most infusions come from unrelated donors, partly because of concerns that receiving one’s own defective cells may cause the same diseases to return.
The promising field of stem cell research is prompting more and more parents to store their newborn’s umbilical cord blood for possible use in treating future disease. Cord blood is rich in blood-forming stem cells and is currently used in transplants for some patients with leukemia, lymphoma, immune deficiencies and inherited metabolic disorders. Most infusions come from unrelated donors, partly because of concerns that receiving one’s own defective cells may cause the same diseases to return.
Now that you’re expecting, your immediate environment is more important than ever. Here’s how to steer clear of potentially harmful substances and make your space a healthier place. From the moment you find out you’re pregnant, your desire to keep yourself and your child as healthy as possible kicks into high gear. That means eating a balanced diet, exercising sensibly and making your surroundings safe. The most difficult part: protecting yourself and your unborn child from toxins present in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the household products we use.
Preparing for the birth of a child is filled with important decisions, and these days they include whether to collect and store a newborn's umbilical cord blood. Initial fees range from $1,420 to $1,925, and there is a yearly storage cost. Insurance may cover the procedure when there is an existing condition or a strong family history of diseases currently treatable with cord-blood stem cells. However, if there is no known family history, the decision becomes more complex.
While pregnant last year with her third child, Ann Juttner of Saugus, Calif., picked up a brochure in her obstetrician’s office. “Give your baby a very special gift,’’ it read, telling parents how preserving, or banking, a newborn’s umbilical cord blood — which usually is discarded after delivery — can help protect their children against certain diseases in the future.
When Danni Dean was expecting her son, Luke, four years ago, a friend who was due around the same time mentioned that she was planning to bank her baby’s umbilical cord blood. Dean, who lives in Hailey, Idaho, knew little about cord-blood banking, but after researching it, she and her husband decided they wanted to bank their baby’s blood, too. “We were compelled by the idea of having a store of potentially ‘magic’ cells at our disposal,” Dean says.
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Research shows that routine clamping of the umbilical cord immediately after birth, rather than waiting for the cord to stop pulsating, deprives the baby of red blood cells and iron stores. A literature review in the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health looked at nine studies that had been done over the past 20 years. This research suggested that immediate clamping may reduce the amount of red blood cells a baby receives by 50 percent.
Women who consume plenty of omega-3 fatty acids during the third trimester have babies with better visual, cognitive and motor development compared with babies whose mothers don't get as much omega-3s, according to a study of Inuit women in the Canadian Arctic. The researchers measured the nutrient in umbilical cord blood and assessed the babies' development at 11 months.
Week 4 Four weeks from the start of your last period, a positive test shows you're pregnant.
Week 5 Measured from crown of head to rump, your baby is about 0.4 inch long—the size of a green pea.
Week 8 The baby is about 1 inch long—the size of a large olive. His features are already distinctly human.
Week 10 Your doctor will probably want to see you between eight and 10 weeks for your first appointment. That's when you'll get to view the heartbeat via ultrasound.
As soon as she found out she was pregnant, Blythe Stanford knew she wanted to save her baby's umbilical cord blood—not only for her unborn child, but mainly for her husband, David. "He's partially blind due to diabetes," says Stanford, 34. "I saw this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have access to stem cells that may one day help him."