Your Baby Is Always With You - Literally



There's a phrase that people like to say about how "your baby will always be with you". It's usually just to be comforting but did you know that biologically, it's actually true?

When you're pregnant, your cells and the cells of your growing baby go through an exchange. From this exchange, a phenomenon called Microchimerism occurs that results in you carrying the DNA of your baby for decades after their pregnancy.

Some evidence:



  • You know that poem about "I carry you in my heart"? Turns out it's not just a lovely poem. You literally carry your baby in your heart when fetal cells make their way into the mother's bloodstream during pregnancy.
  • In one study, half of the women had remnants of the Y chromosome in their brains, believing to be from when they were pregnant with their sons (this is true for daughters as well, it's just harder to trace). 



  • Another study found that fetal cells continue to circulate in a mother's body for at least 38 years postpartum. 
  • Several studies have found that your baby's cells could end up in your thyroid, brain, and other organs. Your baby's cells may even help make your immune system stronger! 
Image via-NCBI

  • Just as a baby's cells will go into the mother's bloodstream, a mother's DNA goes into the baby's. That means babies born after the baby you lost, may also very well carry the DNA of their older sibling! 

  • A baby doesn't need to be born full-term for DNA to be exchanged with the mother. So if you've had an early loss, this still applies to you! 

I learned about this phenomenon years ago but since going through pregnancy and infant loss, these facts have been really comforting. Do they make up for my babies dying? Obviously not. But they give a whole new meaning to "your babies are always with you" because, as it turns out, they literally are. 





2 Comments

  1. A really informative and beautiful post! I had no idea fetal cells remain in the mother's body, that's so fascinating and comforting to many :)

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