Your baby's 'leftover' cells stay inside you for decades after pregnancy, which is kind of lovely
All mums know that the bond we share with our children is stronger than anything else in this world.
And this bond we feel is apparently not just an emotional one, scientists have now found.
According to a study, leftover foetal cells from our babies linger around in our own bodies for decades after we give birth, a phenomenon experts call microchimerism.
These foetal cells then migrate from the womb and spread themselves all over a mother’s body, becoming part of the heart, the brain, and even blood.
And while this is pretty amazing as is, it would seem that microchimerism also is all sorts of beneficial to us. In a study in the International Journal of Epidemiology, researchers suggest that these cells may actually substantially improve our health.
Nobody really quite knows why yet, although experts suggest microchimerism may boost our immune surveillance, as in; the body’s ability to recognise and destroy pathogens and cells that might become cancerous—and also play a role in the repair of damaged tissue. As well as this, microchimerism is also associated with a lower risk of both breast cancer and Alzheimer's.
Mads Kamper-Jørgensen is an associate professor of public health at the University of Copenhagen and the lead author of the International Journal of Epidemiology study. Here is what he had to say about his team's findings:
“There’s so much [epidemiological] observation out there,” Kamper-Jørgensen explained. “Having kids protects you from breast cancer, but we don’t really know why. If you have kids, you live longer, but we don’t really know why. Women live longer than men, but we don’t know why. This phenomenon, this may be it.”