Baby’s Cells and Mom
by Mommy MD Guide Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH
In a pregnant woman, her bloodstream carries not only her own cells, but a small number of her baby’s cells as well. Some of the cells remain in the mother’s body—specifically in her organs—long after her baby is born.
Scientists at Tufts Medical Center are working hard to understand the meaning of this phenomenon in order to determine the effects of the baby’s cells on the mother’s body. Researchers suspect that the presence of fetal cells in a mother’s bloodstream help keep her immune system from attacking the developing fetus. In previous research, fetal cells have been found at tumor sites in the mother, but scientists aren’t sure whether the cells are present in the tumors to aid in its destruction, or if they might contribute to its growth.
Regardless of what the scientists find, the research confirms what every new mother knows. Her baby will always be a part of her.
Source: Pritchard S, Wick HC, Slonim DK, Johnson KL, Bianchi DW. Comprehensive analysis of genes expressed by rare microchimeric fetal cells in maternal lung. Biol Reprod, 2012