By: April Carson
A mother's love for her child is one of humanity's most beautiful and abiding aspects. Recent research has revealed a surprising biological complexity to this connection, which only adds to our appreciation for the ideal way we were constructed.
The Cellular Link between a Mother and Her Infant
Microchimerism is the transfer of cells and DNA from a developing fetus to the mother. Cells from the developing kid enter the mother's circulation as early as the second week of pregnancy. At birth, the placenta is attached to the uterine wall by strong strands of connective tissue, which help prevent it from being pulled off. The mother's cells then migrate through her bloodstream in the opposite direction and enter her baby's circulation. Some of the baby's cells become entrained in the mother's organs. Others enter the mother's brain, where they remain for the rest of her life.
This process is not just a one-way street. Cells and DNA from the mother also cross into the fetus during development. In fact, it is estimated that a baby is exposed to 10 times more maternal cells than paternal cells. These maternal cells play an important role in the development and health of the fetus and child.
Some of these fetal cells, on the other hand, may be beneficial to the mother and travel to the site of a damage. Fetal stem cells, for example, have been found by scientists to aid in the recovery of a woman's heart from a heart attack or other damage. The cells migrate to the heart, where they are reprogrammed into beating heart stem cells, assisting in the healing process. Peripartum cardiomyopathy has also been shown to spontaneously recover postpartum women.
It is clear from this research that there is a lifelong link between mother and child, one that goes beyond the physical. This connection is likely due to the exchange of cells and other substances between mother and child during pregnancy and childbirth. The implications of this research are far-reaching, and underscore the importance of mothers in the lives of their children.
While this research is still in its early stages, it provides a compelling case for the lifelong connection between mother and child. As our understanding of this link grows, we may be able to develop new treatments for conditions that arise from peripartum cardiomyopathy and other diseases. In the meantime, this research highlights the importance of supporting mothers during pregnancy and after childbirth.
Fetal cells can also assist in the healing of other injuries, including C-section incisions! These cells have been discovered in C-section scars, where they are actively involved in regenerating the mother's body by producing skin components like collagen. Some fetal cells have been located in the brain, suggesting that they may influence maternal instincts.
Fetal cells may endure for decades in the mother's body after delivery. For decades, the cells of the mother continue to dwell in her child's blood, tissues, and organs, including the heart. Over 50% of adults studied had fetal cells still dwelling in their bodies. A woman's body is never the same after she has a baby.
Fetal cells have been found in various organs of the mother's body, including her brain. In one study, fetal cells were found in the brains of 11% of Alzheimer's patients. Could these cells play a role in the disease?
Do you feel like your child's legs just aren't the same as yours? Is it because they're too fat, too thin, or have an odd shape? You might question why this happens only in pregnancies that are carried to term. Surprisingly enough, the answer is no. Even miscarriages and abortions that end tragically affect the mother in this manner. The cells will continue to flow through her circulation, allowing her to hold on a piece of her kid she'll never be able to meet on earth.
In a study done on mice, it was found that when a mother and her offspring were together, their stress levels decreased. The pups' heart rates also normalized. If the two were apart, however, the opposite was true. Their anxiety increased and their heart rates stayed high.
This suggests that there's some sort of communication going on between the two that helps to keep both of them calm. It's almost as if they're connected by an invisible string.
It's not just stress that can be regulated by this connection. In another study, it was found that when a mother mouse was exposed to a virus, her immune system responded and created antibodies. These same antibodies were then found in her offspring, even though they had never been exposed to the virus.
This suggests that the mother is able to pass on her immunity to her young. This is an incredible ability that has the potential to save lives.
Humans are rather incredible. How wonderful it is that, as a mother nurtures and develops her infant, the infant protects her mother. How wonderful it is that mothers literally carry their children inside themselves after birth and that children, likewise, carry their mothers within them. How lovely it is to discover how magnificent we are!
This research just goes to show that the mother-infant bond is strong, and it's something that should be cherished. So if you're a mother, never forget how special your relationship with your child is. And if you're not a mother, remember how connected we all are – to our mothers, and to each other.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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