The birth of a child is miraculous; there are miracles we are discovering from that miracle. A more recently discovered “miracle” is the discovery that the unborn baby can help the mother heal while the mother is growing the baby inside her. This win-win relationship has been named “mother-fetal microchimerism”.
This is how it works: during pregnancy, cells from the fetus cross the placenta and enter the mother’s body. These cells become part of her breast, thyroid, brain, lung, thymus, and other tissues and will remain there for decades. The baby leaves a permanent imprint on the mother.
This occurs with every child, even if a baby is stillborn, or if the mother has an abortion, those baby’s cells are still in her.
Benefits to the mother benefit to the baby
Baby’s cells were identified in healed cesarean section scars which indicates that the baby participates in the mother’s wound healing.
It’s more than just wound repair. If a mother’s heart is injured, for example. fetal stem cells will rush to the injury site and transform into different types of cells that specialize in repairing the heart. The child helps the mother repair, while the mother builds the child. Obviously, mother-fetal microchimerism is good for both the baby and the mother.
Some fetal cells have stem-like properties that may allow them to provide maternal benefits…We predict that microchimerism should be associated with enhanced maternal health where there is potential for the fetus to enhance maternal health at low or no cost to itself, such as in the transmission of fetal stem cells that might provide a benefit for somatic maintenance (i.e., maternal tissue repair or replenishing stem cell niches). (1)
This may be the reason why some diseases fade away during pregnancy.
When a mother says they feel like, “my children are still a part of me,” long after they’ve been born…she’s right!
- Boddy AM, Fortunato A, Sayres MW, Aktipis A. Fetal microchimerism and maternal health: A review and evolutionary analysis of cooperation and conflict beyond the womb. Bioessays. 28 August 2015.