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15 WTF Facts About How Baby Stays Inside Mom Even After Birth

From the first moment that the woman finds out she is carrying life inside of her, things change in the way she will continue living life. She knows she will be a mother soon and it is beyond exciting. A baby’s job is to grow and develop in that amazing nine month incubation which culminates in child birth. After that, they get to meet their parents face to face and the rest of the family. But this is not where the Mom/Baby bond ends as we previously thought.

This is just the beginning of the journey for the mother too, in learning how to care for and bond with another human being, her new child. But scientists have now discovered something really incredible about how baby is always with Mom LITERALLY even after they come out of Mom. The process is occurring by something called “Fetal Microchimerism” This is when the cells of the baby still continue to live on in Mom’s body and brain after baby is born, and it lasts for decades. What? It sounds like science fiction, but more facts are coming out on how this is really happening in women’s bodies. On that note, here are 15 WTF Facts About How Baby Always Stays Inside Mom:

15 In Other Words

Most Moms will say that sometimes they still feel like their babies are a part of them even after they are toddlers. This has always been thought of as simply an expression, but now geneticists are finding out that this is literally true. When mothers say they feel their child is a part of them, scientists can detect physical proof of genetic material of these women’s babies still in their bodies years later. This unique genetic material is something that has existed in other mammals for thousands of years and can affect Mom for better or worse, such as helping her heal more quickly from wounds, but also may lead to a higher risk of catching a disease like cancer. More studies are needed to try and understand why this is happening, but wtf, it is true!

14 DNA Binds Together

Following on the point above, doctors are also finding that many Moms’ physical stamina and their bodies' abilities to fight disease for better or worse is changed by this tissue invasion, where some of baby’s tissues simply lodge themselves into Mom’s tissues while baby is still living in the womb. This process was only discovered a few decades ago when technology lead to greater detection of DNA and how it affects the woman’s body. With the more advanced technology, doctors also were able to distinguish Mom’s DNA from her baby’s DNA with greater precision.

What they can’t figure out, is why the fetal cells are burrowing themselves and still feeding off their mothers’ even when baby is no longer in utero. Interestingly, Mom’s cells have developed countermeasures to protect themselves from the baby’s cellular demands. Both benefit from the interaction with a balanced give and take, though scientists are studying this with great interest.

13 Male Babies - Even Better

Another cool thing about this whole cellular influence, is that it seems like baby’s cells infiltrating Moms’ bodies actually have helped some women develop stronger immunity against diseases such as Alzheimer’s. This research is still in its infancy so there are no definite conclusions, but it seems that in some cases these cells are helping the woman’s body get stronger than it ever was and protecting her against certain diseases.

Mom and baby are pretty much physically connected from the beginning of conception through the placenta. This organ is built up of cells from Mom and baby and it is the conduit with which baby is fed, nourished and through which it grows in utero. This is how the cells migrate from baby to Mom and vice versa and this is how scientists speculate that cells help in tissue repair and disease.

12 Fetal Tissue And Breastmilk

It seems that baby can get everywhere in a matter of seconds even when they are in utero. We already know about Mom’s “baby brain” and this is quite literal as fetal tissue has been found in Moms’ brains, and can even be detected in autopsies at the end of life. But WHO has found fetal tissue even in a mother's breasts and that it can impact something as huge as milk production. It's true!

Apparently healthy lactation is said to be due to the number of fetal cells which are said to signal to Mom’s body to make milk. It can actually help work in unison with other systems so that Moms have no trouble in this area and baby can have ample milk. This seems to be Mother Nature at her finest in perfect symbiosis between mother and child!

11 There's Also A Downside

The other feature of milk production which could be aided by fetal tissue, however, is not a very pretty picture. Some studies are pointing to the fact that the same systems that allow the fetal cells to help with milk production in a mother’s breast tissue, also help evade her immune system. This means they are very much like cancer cells and this could lead to a greater chance of a woman being susceptible to cancer in the future.

More research is still being done, of course, but this seems to be one of those areas where there may be a trade off for this sharing of tissue information across the Mom and her baby. Most women are happy to do anything to help make their bodies adapt to baby in and out of utero, and accept that they have to adjust to some risks that pregnancy and childbirth bring.

10 It Helps Mom Heal From C-Section

Yet here is a super cool fact. Apparently, women who’ve had c-sections and have scar tissues left from the surgery, can also end up healing faster from the surgery due to fetal tissue in them! You heard right Moms! Junior may actually be sending her a high five and some TLC to speed up the recovery process from wounds. Some sources even indicate her immunity can also become stronger once she is pregnant and afterwards due to the same said fetal tissue. Again, sounds like something out of science fiction, but this could be Mother Nature’s way of saying to women, “hey you are sacrificing a heck of a lot bringing this baby into the world, here’s his/her way of saying thanks Mom!” And as a Mom, we will take what we could get!

9 The Effects Last Even Years Later

Among many of the other health wonders that these fetal cells could help with, apparently they could also lead to a decrease in a woman having rheumatoid arthritis as she ages. Again, it seems to be due to the healing properties of these tissue and how they seem to help regenerate the other tissues and make them stronger. This is super good to know when Mom is suffering from sleep deprivation and lack of privacy.

When junior is older she will hopefully have some of her space back, and a less sore body to boot! Of course, more research needs to be done to study the exact correlation, but again, fetal tissue seems to be super helpful and coming to the rescue of Moms’ future health woes down the road.

8 Generations Live Inside Mom

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Another cool fact that is under study is how the cells of previous babies stay inside Mom’s body and believe it or not, can influence how quickly Mom can become pregnant again! These cells of older siblings can also influence Mom’s body and the characteristics of future siblings. Incredibly, we carry around cells from our older siblings and our mothers.

Some studies even indicate the possibility of carrying around cells from our great-grandmothers, though more research is needed on this to determine how far one can go back to tracing how many fetal cells are in a woman’s body. The cells from baby are in Mom’s brain and the cells from Mom cross into baby through her placenta. Because fetal cells from other pregnancies stay inside Mom, this means that very likely people have cells of their older brother and sister as well as their mother inside them.

7 It's A Two Way Street

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Evolutionary-wise, pregnancy and mother/baby relations have evolved in an incredibly complex manner over the last few centuries. What scientists are now learning are that how babies related in utero to their parents has changed dramatically. Babies now take a lot more resources from their Moms. Scientists have noticed that they take up more heat, food resources, and other things from their mother in larger quantities than was previously seen in past years.

Interestingly, the mother’s body has also evolved countermeasures to protect itself from baby’s surplus of demands and the mother/child bond in utero is existing in balance without either of them suffering any kind of deprivation. They are still trying to figure out why this is happening, but the placental exchange seems to be beneficial for both mother and child.

6 The Mom And Baby Bond

Another thing fetal tissue seems to do is quite incredible. Based on some evolutionary reasoning in another study, predictions were made that fetal cells would be mainly found in tissues in the mother’s body that made it easier to transfer nutrients to the baby. Of course, the breast is one of these areas, the thyroid is another one and the brain is the third. The breast is the one where a woman’s milk production will be helped for the better in most cases. The thyroid interestingly is thought to help in transferring heat to the baby and affects the woman’s metabolism and how she handles the pregnancy and the brain is where the tissue affects neural circuitry which is directly responsible for the Mom/baby bonding and bonding and attachment in the early days and beyond.

5 It's A Complete Invasion

We have all heard of the concept used in horror films of aliens invading our bodies and minds, such as in movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Well, creepily the placenta kind of sort of does the same thing to Mom. That’s right. It invades the Mom’s system once baby is safely growing inside her and takes over the resources and room and board. It immediately starts to share food, drink, heat as well as take what it needs to grow, survive and thrive inside Mom. Some folks have described the baby as a kind of cute parasite that lives off the Mom until it no longer needs the support and can come out. Oh boy. And we thought that only happened when they were adults and moved into their first apartment!

4 Dominance Of Male DNA

Another super cool thing is how male fetal DNA seems to, well, really hang in there inside Mom. According to one study, male fetal DNA was found in 63% of women’s bodies, even those who only had female children. How the bleep is this possible? Speculation is that it may be due to miscarriage, which raises another interesting question. This is that fetal cells are really very powerful and can really burrow deep inside Mom, so much so that even those that tragically do not fully form into a future baby, can still have some sort of posterity and immortality in Mom and, therefore, in their siblings. Wow. Now that is incredible. So those Moms who say they feel that child is with them always, may actually be on to something as the essence of that baby is inside them forever.

3 Male Fetal Cells Make Mom Healthier

And all that exhaustion and running around that babies give Moms? What about the rambunctiousness of little boys who have the reputation of being little terrors who drive Moms crazy? Well, recent studies are showing that somehow male births are being correlated with Moms having better future health. The more male babies she has, the better her overall health is and her risk of diseases like Azherimers’ goes down.

More work has to be done on humans as many of the results showed up in mice samples, however in studying the human brains of women who had AD scientists found significantly less male fetal tissue in their brains as in the same of women who did not have AD. So it looks like “Mommy brain” may actually translate to healthy brain as Moms suffered less from this disease if they had more male DNA inside.

2 Mom And Fetal Cells Live On In Each Other

And speaking of taking after one’s Mom and starting to do things and say things like one’s children? Well, this theory gives that a whole new spin. With Moms cells and baby’s cells living on in each other, it means that for better or worse, they carry all that they are forward into their lives and pass on the characteristics of each other to successive generations. A Mom’s daughter has pieces of her Moms’ cells inside of her which means her children carry many of grandma’s inner essence in them.

Even years later these cells can be found in each party and make no mistake, this impacts mental character as well as physical health. It gives new meaning to the terms of “genes” being passed on to many generations in the future.

1 Taking Evolutionary Advantage

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Finally, all of this fetal/baby cells burrowing deeper into Mom’s cells and taking more from Mom than past generations, is really an evolutionary development that has happened due to necessity. Why, no one knows, and it is an interesting thing for scientists to try and figure out. All they know is that as soon as junior got more demanding, Mom got more assertive. It’s kind of like how discipline and raising a child works for most of us in real life.

Yet, the counter intuitive ways that Moms’ bodies learned to protect themselves from baby’s greater demand on their bodies means that now both Mom and baby are served equally beneficial in this equation. Many experts feel that the health benefits many Moms experience due to having been pregnant is also baby’s and natures’ way of saying an elaborate thank you for the sacrifice.

So there they are: 15 WTF facts about how baby always stays in Mom. It looks like motherhood really alters a woman’s life in many more ways than we thought. Though some of these theories are still in their infancy, no one can argue how motherhood is truly something that alters a woman in all spheres of her life.

Sources: Smithsonianmag.com, ScientificAmerican.com, NPR.org, Sciencemag.org, TheAtlantic.com

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