The bond between a mother and child can be really strong and many of you are aware of it. Scientists explain why children are more connected to mothers than to their fathers.
The scientific explanation is that their cells never really leave the bodies of their mothers, and some of them stay in the body and perform several medical wonders.
This obstetric phenomenon was discovered in the nineteenth century by the German scientist, Georg Schmorl. The word microchimerism relates to the idea that a mother is a kind of a smaller version of the mythical chimera. These fetal cells protect and heal the mothers, and contribute to their longer life spans.
In the nine-month gestation period, the fetal cells leave the uterus via the placenta and enter the blood of the mother. After that these cells are transported to several body organs, like the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, pancreas, and even to her skin layers.
According to Amy Boddy, an established bio-science researcher, the fetal cells are not only occupying the space, but they are stem cells with unusual markings on their surfaces. They can differentiate into any type of cell, dependent on the tissue they migrate to. However, there is still the need for further researching about their migration.
“Fetal cells can act as stem cells and develop into epithelial cells, specialized heart cells, liver cells and so forth. This shows that they are very dynamic and play a huge role in the maternal body. They can even migrate to the brain and differentiate into neurons. We are all chimeras.”
After parturition the body naturally clears and shrinks these cells till they are destroyed, but a large number of them survive and stay in the mother’s body acing as protective agents. They are very helpful after the birth as they speed up the healing process of the guts from C-section, then the healing of the pregnancy scars, tissue stretches, and even internal bleeding.
The fetal cells are really beneficial for the mother as they act as healing agents having the ability to hamper the abnormal growth of breast cells, thus reducing the risk of breast cancer. In addition to this, they contribute to lowering the risk of neurodegenerative diseases in old age, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Despite their many benefits these cells can have an impact on the immune system of the mother as a result of the adverse chemical reactions between the different chromosomes in the mother’s organs and the fetal chromosomes. It is believed that they may be one of the reasons for the development of auto-immune diseases in women.
Parturition is never fully finished and scientists believe that they may be the reason for the strong bond between the mother and child.
Scientific American reports:
“Even if microchimeric fetal cells don’t turn out to be a power player in a mother’s health, they might help persuade scientists that pregnancy is a health factor that needs to be considered anew.”
J. Lee Nelson, a professor of human immunogenetics at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and a co-author on the rheumatoid arthritis study, stated the following:
“Before we knew about these persisting fetal cells, and the persisting maternal cells, researchers didn’t often analyze their data according to the difference in sex. And they certainly didn’t analyze it according to a woman’s pregnancy history. One of the benefits of this field is showing how important this can be.”