Having a baby is tough. There is so much that women are expected to learn during their pregnancy and so many elements that could have an effect on their child. One these mysterious things mothers might not think about? Uterine fluid. But it's about time that women get familiar with it, especially now, given that new research shows uterine fluid may directly affect the fetus — and not just the woman herself.
A recent study, published in Trends In Molecular Medicine, found that an woman's diet, mood, and other outside factors could impact the uterine fluid, which could, in turn, impact their future or existing fetus. It is important to note that uterine fluid is different from amniotic fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb during pregnancy. Uterine fluid, according to the study, is present during fertilization, and is the fluid that the developing fetus bathes in as the embryo implants onto the wall of the uterus. In fact, uterine fluid is so important for the embryo's development that scientists are now experimenting with adding uterine fluid into the IVF process to make for a potentially "healthier embryo."
This uterine fluid, the study concluded, has an effect on the fetuses development and serves as a means of communication between the fetus and its mother.
Expecting mothers know that their physical activity and what they choose to put in their bodies affects the fetus growing in their belly. at all stages of development. But this new study concludes that women who are trying to get pregnant should begin monitoring these lifestyle choices even before the pregnancy test comes back positive. "The preimplantation period is a critical time for programming offspring health, and thus, expecting mothers should keep a good diet and good mood, and stay away from harmful chemicals during this critical window," the study's senior author, En-Kui Duan, a reproductive biologist at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, told Science Daily.
OB/GYN and women's health expert Dr. Sherry Ross told Fit Pregnancy that the study's conclusion means that women trying to get pregnant should plan ahead and take care of their bodies. "Ideally you want to allow yourself six months to prepare your body to set a stage for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby," Ross stated.
Hongmei Wang, co-senior author of the study, told Science Daily that uterine fluid could one day be used to analyze or manipulate what signals are being received by a fetus. This new study is only the first step in getting to that point. Pretty cool, if you ask me.