Pregnancy is one of the most special moments in the lives of many women. Most women generally know what happens during these nine months. The phases of development; the body changes visibly; the growing sense of responsibility.

Of course you want only the best for your child and do everything to keep the both of you healthy. Natural prenatal vitamins, organic foods, plenty of rest and avoidance of stress are obviously important issues.

Beyond the easily observed outward changes a lot of processes take place within the body many of which you may not necessarily be familiar with. In the deeper layers a lot of fascinating processes nicely reflect the evolving relationship between mother and child. Two of those processes we briefly highlight below; they illustrate the ways in which mother and child communicate with each other and help each other during, and after, pregnancy.

Mother and fetus become one

During pregnancy the mother provides not just nutrients and shelter to the fetus. Fetal cells miraculously pass through the placenta as well. This allows the baby's DNA to become part of mother’s body.

These fetal cells in fact remain part of the mother for decades, if not throughout life. These cells are found throughout the whole body, from the blood to the bone marrow and basically everything in between. The phenomenon of the presence of a small amount of the cells of one person in another is known as microchimerism.

Your child will help you stay healthy

Research suggests that the fetal cells help the mother heal when sick or injured. A favorable correlation has in fact been established between the amount of fetal cells present and the occurrence of a number of disorders, even mother's life expectancy.

The interaction between mother and child is thus very complex, especially at cellular level. Fetal cells also contain genetic information from the father. During subsequent pregnancies the cells of the first fetus may also become part of younger siblings. This fact is an excellent example of an almost universal connectedness between and across the generations.

Breastfeeding as medicine

Although there are many alternatives to breastfeeding, breast milk remains the best choice for your baby. It is an ingenious example of the bond between mother and child. Breast milk composition changes based on baby’s needs and its complexity is unmatched by any baby formula. In addition to providing exactly the right nutrients, breastfeeding plays a critical role in the dialogue between the baby's and the mother's immune systems. An almost unbelievable amount of information is exchanged between breasts and baby.

During breastfeeding, a vacuum is created between mouth and nipple. In this vacuum a little baby saliva is sucked up into the mother's nipple. Receptors in the mammary glands then read signals and on this basis the composition of breast milk is adjusted.

For example, if the mammary glands detect pathogens, the mother's body immediately produces antibodies. Via the mother's milk these end up in the body of the baby, where they combat the infection.

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