As we wrote about in the article c-section babies microbial life, babies born via c-section do not benefit from the exposure to the microbial life in the birth canal and vagina of the mother. This lack of exposure has been linked to an increased risk of asthma, allergies, obesity and some immune deficiencies.
After the discovery of some microbes negative effect on our health it has taken us some time to recognize that there are far more microbes that have a positive effect. We are only just beginning to understand the positive effects of the relationship of the microbes that make up our human micro biome and our health.
In this process of discovery a small study was undertaken at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The study was made up of 18 babies, 7 vaginally born and 11 by c-section. Four of the c-section babies were swabbed with a gauze that had been “incubated” in the vagina of the mother for an hour prior to the c-section. Two minutes after delivery the newborn was then swabbed with it.
Subsequent testing found that the 4 babies that underwent this vaginal fluid swabbing were closer in microbial resemblance to those born vaginally than the unexposed c-section-babies. Three sites were tested in this way, skin, mouth and anus with the difference proving more distinct in the oral and skin samples.
Obviously it won’t be until longer follow up research is complete that we ail know just how long these differences last and how the children’s longer term health may be effected.
What’s important is that the research into this relationship between the exposure to the mothers vaginal microbes and the babies developing immune system and health, are taking place. If longer term and larger group studies prove there are health benefits to cesarean babies then in time this will hopefully become a standard practice for all c-section births.