Research is showing more and more how important your gut flora is for your overall health. The movie Microbirth offers insights on the importance of transferring these helpful bacterias to infants during birth. Studies have shown that vaginally delivered babies have fewer auto-immune disorders and allergic conditions than babies born via cesarean. The movie goes on to discuss potential solutions to help babies born via cesarean get the benefits of the microbes and bacteria, one of which is using a vaginal swab shortly after birth.
I recently photographed a birth where the mom placed gauze in her birth canal prior to her cesarean birth. The gauze was then removed during the surgery and the dad used the gauze to wipe the face, mouth, hands, eyes and arms of the baby. It was a simple act that may prove to have long-term health benefits for the baby. The research is still on-going if this is an effective method for seeding the micro biome but it is a simple step that parents can take that research may show to be highly beneficial.
If you aren’t able to use take these steps during your birth research is also on-going on the benefits of exclusively breastfeeding your baby and the benefits that has on their micro biome. NPR’s Science Friday had an interview that discusses the differences that are in babies that are exclusively breastfed versus those that are supplemented with formula, versus those that are exclusively breastfed. The researchers stated that there are clear differences, what the impact of those differences are is still being studied. There is also on-going research on how administering probiotics effects the micro biome in infants. I highly recommend listening to the full episode here.
All this research is so fascinating and exciting. If you are interested in how to seed your baby’s micro biome I highly encourage you to talk to your care provider about your options.