Patricia Heaton, the pro-life star of the show "The Middle," recently tweeted out a link to a 2014 USA Today story on fetal cells, which may provide health benefits to mothers years after a baby is born.
The story reported on research that indicates that fetal cells, which remain with a mother after the birth of a child, can prevent disease and even help after an injury such as a stroke.
“So cool,” Heaton tweeted. “Your baby is protecting you in the womb! Fetal cells remain in moms for years, affecting health.”
A more recent 2015 NPR story linked fetal cells to reduced risk of breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Heaton is speaking at OneLife LA, a pro-life rally in Los Angeles on January 23. In the 2014 USA Today story the actress linked to, Liz Szabo reported:
Many moms carry photos of their children in their wallets.
Yet mothers may be surprised to learn that they're also carrying some of their children's cells, years or even decades after the end of a pregnancy. And while a baby photo can melt a mother's heart, the cells her child leaves behind in her blood may actually heal it, emerging research suggests.
Doctors have known for years that mothers and babies exchange blood during pregnancy and childbirth, says V.K. Gadi, associate professor at the University of Washington and an associate member at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Studies now show that fetal cells remain behind, long after pregnancy, in 40% to 70% of women studied. And moms aren't the only ones collecting souvenirs. Kids may also carry cells from their mothers, as well as their twin siblings.
"You live on in them, and they live on in you," says Louise McCullough, director of stroke research at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Yet the fetal cells left behind in women's bodies are more than mementos.
Preliminary evidence suggests these cells may also come to a mother's rescue when she suffers an injury, such as a stroke, McCullough says.