The Human Microbiome: considerations for pregnancy, birth and early mothering

I have had a decent amount of mothers come to me with concerns over skin inflammatory conditions in their babies and infants. One of the first two questions I have are: are they breast-fed and were they vaginally birthed?

All cases where inflammation, redness, and peeling were an issue on the infant’s skin the mother responded no to one or both of the questions.

I find it extremely important to educated women and families on the topic of the microbiome. Supporting good bacteria with proper diet, exercise and stress management is critical for the management of future health consequences of the young one.

“During a vaginal birth the baby is colonised by maternal vaginal and faecal bacteria. Initial human bacterial colonies resemble the maternal vaginal microbiota – predominately Lactobacillus, Prevotella and Sneathia. A baby born by c-section is colonised by the bacteria in the hospital environment and maternal skin – predominately Staphylocci and C difficile. They also have significantly lower levels of Bifidobacterium and lower bacterial diversity than vaginally born babies. These differences in the microbiome ‘seeding’ may be the reason for the long-term increased risk of particular diseases for babies born by c-section.”

Quote from this article ~ http://midwifethinking.com/2014/01/15/the-human-microbiome-considerations-for-pregnancy-birth-and-early-mothering/

Another illuminating article ~ http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/aug/17/vaginal-seeding-c-section-babies-microbiome

MidwifeThinking

Updated and edited: February 2015

This post was co-authored by Jessie Johnson-Cash and based on her presentation at the USC Midwifery Education Day.

The human microbiome is rather fashionable in the world of science at the moment. The NIH Human Microbiome Project has been set up to explore correlations between the microbiome and human health and disease. To date the human microbiome as been associated with, amongst other things obesity, cancer, mental health disorders, asthma, and autism. In this post I am not going to provide a comprehensive literature review – this has already been done, and the key reviews underpinning this discussion are: Matamoros et al. (2012) ‘development of intestinal microbiota in infants and its impact on health’ and Collado et al. (2012) ‘microbial ecology and host-microbiota interactions during early life stages’. Instead I am going to focus on what this means for pregnancy, birth, mothering and midwifery.

What is the human microbiome?

Based on a chart by Matamoro et al. 2013. Adapted and extended by Jessie Johnson-Cash. Based…

View original post 1,369 more words

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