During pregnancy and lactation, the uterus and mammary glands undergo remarkable structural changes to perform their critical reproductive functions before reverting to their original dormant state upon childbirth and weaning, respectively. Underlying this incredible plasticity are complex remodeling processes that rely on coordinated decisions at both the cellular and tissue-subunit levels. With their exceptional versatility, tissue-resident macrophages play a variety of supporting roles in these organs during each stage of development, ranging from maintaining immune homeostasis to facilitating tissue remodeling, although much remains to be discovered about the identity and regulation of individual macrophage subsets. In this study, we review the increasingly appreciated contributions of these immune cells to the reproductive process and speculate on future lines of inquiry. Deepening our understanding of their interactions with the parenchymal or stromal populations in their respective niches may reveal new strategies to ameliorate complications in pregnancy and breastfeeding, thereby improving maternal health and well-being.

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