Microbiomes Shown to be Partially Restored for C-Section Infants

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Exposure to vaginal fluid at birth partially restores microbiota during first 30 days of life
Exposure to vaginal fluid at birth partially restores microbiota during first 30 days of life

HealthDay News — Exposure to maternal vaginal fluids at birth can partially restore vaginal microbiomes for cesarean section-born infants, according to a study published online February 1 in Nature Medicine.

Noting that infants delivered by cesarean section acquire a distinct microbiota from vaginally-delivered infants, Maria G. Dominguez-Bello, PhD, from New York University in New York City, and colleagues conducted a pilot study to expose infants delivered by cesarean section to maternal vaginal fluids at birth.

The researchers found that infants delivered by cesarean section and exposed to maternal vaginal fluids had gut, oral, and skin bacterial communities during the first 30 days of life that were enriched in vaginal bacteria, similar to vaginally-delivered babies; these bacteria were underrepresented in unexposed cesarean section-delivered infants. Oral and skin samples had greater microbiome similarity to those of vaginally-delivered infants than in anal samples.

"Although the long-term health consequences of restoring the microbiota of cesarean section-delivered infants remain unclear, our results demonstrate that vaginal microbes can be partially restored at birth in cesarean section-delivered babies," the authors write.

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