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Jan222012

Amniotic Fluid, Umbilical Cord

Amniotic Fluid

Attached to placenta is the membranous sac which surrounds and protects the embryo. This sac is called the amnion. It grows and begins to fill, mainly with water, around two weeks after fertilization. This liquid is called Amniotic fluid, it allows the baby to move freely, without the walls of the uterus being too tight against its body. Buoyancy is also provided here for comfort. After a further 10 weeks the liquid contains proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and phospholipids, urea and electrolytes, all which aid in the growth of baby. In the late stages of gestation much of the amniotic fluid consists of babies urine. The baby swallows the fluid and then wees it out to prepare its digestive organs for use after birth. The baby also "breathes" the fluid to aid in lung growth and development.

As with too little fluid, too much fluid or polyhydramnios, can be a cause or an indicator of problems for the mother and baby. Polyhydramnios is a predisposing risk factor for cord prolapse and is sometimes a side effect of a macrosomic pregnancy. In both cases, however, the majority of pregnancies proceed normally and the baby is born healthy.

Umbilical Cord

This is the life support for a growing embryo. The umbilical cord stretches between the placenta and the baby. This cord contains the umbilical arteries and vein. The umbilical cord forms by week 5 of conception. The cord can be 22 to 36 inches long and may have the appearance of a coil. The umbilical cord is very rich in stem cells and is often used for parents who choose to store their stem cells in a blood bank or donate it to a blood bank. These stem cells can be used to treat over 45 disorders and is an alternative from extracting the stem cells from a donor.

During your ultrasound scan you may see that the cord is around baby, we see this in over 80% of scans and it is nothing to be worried about.

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Reader Comments (1)

One of the most frequently asked questions that parents-to-be have when they are deciding whether or not to bank their baby’s cord blood is how likely it is that their baby will benefit from the banked cord blood. In scientific terms, when a person receives an infusion of their own cord blood stem cells it is called an autologous transplant, or autologous therapy. Autologous therapies have been successfully used in treatments for certain genetic disorders for many years now. But, what if your family doesn’t appear to have genetic disorders in its history? Could the stem cells still be useful? Recent activity in leading medical circles indicates that indeed a baby’s own stem cells may be useful for treating non-genetic disorders, including cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe a group of chronic conditions that affect body movements and muscle coordination. It is a non-genetic disorder. It is caused by damage to one or more areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development or infancy. It also can occur before, during or shortly following birth. The Brain Injury Association of America estimates that cerebral palsy occurs in about 1 in 300 children up to the age of 10.

One of the most exciting research studies related to the use of stem cells in treating cerebral palsy is going on right now at Duke University. Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, Director of Duke’s Pediatric Bone Marrow and Transplant program, has begun the first placebo-controlled, randomized, crossover clinical trial of its kind to study the use of stem cells in treating cerebral palsy. Dr. Kurtzberg is focused on proving whether or not anecdotal evidence suggesting that cord blood helps children with cerebral palsy can be supported by scientific evidence.

April 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmericord

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