Smart Cells and Future Health joint statement on grossly misleading competitor allegations. Read More

Giving birth in 2019? Here’s four things to consider now to help your baby’s health

 In Stem Cell Uses

Whatever stage you’re at in your pregnancy, you’ll want to nurture your precious bundle and make sure they get the best possible start in life. This means doing all you can to ensure your baby’s good health as they develop and in the future as they grow up.

So how can you help protect your baby’s wellbeing?

Here’s four simple steps to help safeguard their health both now and in years to come.

1. Bank your newborn’s cord blood stem cells

The greatest gift you could give for your baby’s health is to collect and store their cord blood stem cells at birth. This quick and simple process will provide a valuable resource that will help protect their wellbeing for decades going forward.

Did you know? Cord blood stem cell therapy has already contributed to the successful treatment of over 80 different serious diseases.

So how are your baby’s cord blood stem cells collected?

Once your child is safely delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut in the normal way. Then blood containing the stem cells, is extracted from the cut cord with a needle.

Once your child is safely delivered, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut in the normal way. Then blood containing the stem cells, is extracted from the cut cord with a needle.

The blood is sent to a specialist laboratory or cord blood bank where it is processed and cryopreserved (frozen). It is then stored until required.

From start to finish, the whole process is non-invasive and pain-free. What easier and greater investment could you make for your child’s health?

2. Eat well

Now you’re pregnant, it’s important to stick to a healthy eating regime to nourish you and your growing child. According to the UK’s NHS this means getting a balance of the right types of foods.

So what foods should you include?

Fruit and vegetables: An important source of essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. Aim for a minimum of 5 portions daily.

Complex carbohydrates found in whole foods and starchy vegetables, complex carbs are an important source of slow and sustained energy. Exactly what you and your baby need. Aim for 4-6 portions daily.

Protein: Important for helping your baby’s tissues and organs grow, protein also helps repair and renew cells. Good sources include lean meat, fish, soya-based foods, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The American Association for Pregnancy (AAP) recommend including at least 3 servings of protein daily.

Dairy: Dairy products are packed with calcium, vital for the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. Make sure the products you eat are pasteurised. Some soft cheeses are unsuitable during pregnancy because of the risk of food poisoning. Ask your doctor for advice. Aim for 2-4 portions daily.

Essential fats: Essential fats, (high in mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids) help support your baby’s brain and eye development. Good sources include olives, avocados, seeds, nuts, cold-pressed oils and oily fish (sardines, herring, mackerel). Aim for 2 portions of oily fish weekly.

And what foods should you avoid?

Foods containing modified hydrogenated fats – processed and deep fried food. This includes all types of pâté (which can contain the bacteria listeria and cause infection), raw or partially cooked eggs, alcohol and of course refined sugar (sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks).

3. Reassess your vitamin intake

When you’re pregnant, the need for essential nutrients increases dramatically and it can be all-too-easy to become deficient. This spells bad news for you and your baby’s health.

When you’re pregnant, the need for essential nutrients increases dramatically and it can be all-too-easy to become deficient. This spells bad news for you and your baby’s health.

So what key vitamins and minerals are especially important now you’re pregnant?

Your need for vitamin C increases during pregnancy due to the increase in blood volume. It‘s important for the formation of your baby’s bones and teeth and also improves iron absorption. Food sources include citrus fruits, berries, broccoli and peppers.

Vitamin D helps maintain calcium and phosphorus levels, important for your baby’s bones and teeth. Also, without sufficient vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium.

The best source of vitamin D is natural sunlight. Living in the UAE, a lack of sunshine isn’t a problem but if you don’t get enough sun you may need to take a supplement.

You need iron more than ever during pregnancy because of the increase in blood volume. It’s essential for the formation of red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body and to your growing baby. Food sources include: red meat, fish and poultry, eggs, nuts, and fortified cereals.

Calcium is  important to help build strong bones and teeth. Food sources include: dairy products, leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, and tinned salmon.

Folic acid helps create red blood cells during pregnancy. It also helps decrease the possibility of neural tube defects (problems in a baby’s spinal cord). Food sources include meat, fish, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals.

Current guidelines recommend women should take a 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid tablet daily when trying to conceive and continue when pregnant for the first 12 weeks.

What about taking supplements?

In some circumstances it isn’t possible to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from the food you eat. In such cases, a good antenatal supplement can be beneficial. Talk to your doctor or midwife for advice.

4. Get your vaccinations up-to-date

By getting vaccinated during your pregnancy, your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them onto your baby before birth. These antibodies will help provide your baby with some short-term early protection against certain diseases.

By getting vaccinated during your pregnancy, your body will create protective antibodies and pass some of them onto your baby before birth.

So which vaccines are safe when you’re pregnant?

Whooping cough: This highly contagious bacterial infection can be very serious for young babies.

Did you know? Every year up to 20 babies die of whooping cough in the US. And around half of babies younger than one year old who get this disease need hospital treatment.

The whopping cough vaccine is recommended during pregnancy and is best carried out in the early part of the third trimester. Talk to your doctor or midwife about getting it done.

The flu: Being pregnant can make you more susceptible to infection and more likely to get seriously ill from the flu. It can cause problems for your developing baby too so it’s important to get the flu vaccine at the start of the flu season.

Your next step

As a parent, the greatest gift you can give your new baby is good health. This means ensuring they get the best possible nutrition as they develop, through to banking their stem cells at birth to safeguard their future. Simple steps that will not only keep them strong and healthy as they enter the world but help protect them for decades to come.

SOURCES

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/alcohol-medicines-drugs-pregnant/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/foods-to-avoid-pregnant/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4928162/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/#vitamin-d-in-pregnancy

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant/

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/pregnant-women/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/pregnant-women/index.html

https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/healthy-eating-pregnancy/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/

http://thurrockccg.nhs.uk/images/Vitamin_D_-_Things_you_need_to_know_1.pdf

Smart Cells is the UK’s first private cord blood storage company, helping parents from across the world take the pioneering decision to store the stem cells of their babies for greater security of health. For more information on umbilical cord blood banking or to organise a consultation, please email us on UAE@smartcells.com, or click here.

 

About the author: Shamshad Ahmed, CEO and Founder of Smart Cells International.

Shamshad Ahmed is CEO and Founder of Smart Cells International Ltd. Founded in 2000, Smart Cells is the UK’s first private cord blood company – its goal is to give parents more access to potentially life-saving treatment for their families. Smart Cells is one of the UK’s largest private banks, operating across the globe and storing over 50,000 cord blood samples from people in over 70 countries. Shamshad started his career in finance and foreign exchange at Citibank before moving over to the world of clinical trials. He holds a degree from Nottingham Trent University, and has been a member of the Young President’s Organization since 2008,  having served on the board for a number of those years.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search