Science has found a way for C-section mothers to pass the good bacteria (typically found in a vaginal birth) to their baby. C-sections occur in more than 1/3rd
of births in the US now. Current research shows that babies born via cesarean birth are at increased risk of: obesity asthma celiac disease autism chronic illnesses type 1 diabetes (later in their lives) The research suggests that it is the differences in the bacteria of the gut that plays a part in the rise in these diseases. Vaginally born babies have a better gut bacteria that C-section babies.
We have already discussed (at length!) just how important gut health is during pregnancy
, as it seems that the mother’s gut health is what provides the foundation for the baby’s gut health. Apparently, our bodies are so amazing (DUH!) that we not only grow humans, but our own bacteria is passed to those humans as they grow (through the placenta). These bacteria then are absorbed through baby’s skin, eyes, nose, mouth, genitals, etc as he or she passes through the birth canal. BUT science has found a way for c-section mothers to pass this bacteria on to their babies! It is called ‘Vaginal Seeding’ and it is taking operating rooms by storm!
What is Vaginal Seeding?
Dr. Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, an associate professor in the Human Microbiome Program at the NYU School of Medicine, presented the process to do what is called an inoculum or “seeding” for the infant.
- Take a piece of gauze soaked in sterile normal saline
- Fold it up like a tampon with lots of surface area and insert into the mother’s vagina
- Leave for 1 hour, remove just prior to surgery and keep in a sterile container
- Immediately after birth apply the swab to the baby’s mouth, face, then the rest of the body
Yes, it is recommended to take vaginal swabs from the mother and putting them over the body and in the mouth of the baby to help restore the delicate balance for babies who were born by cesarean section.
The latest scientific research is now showing that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother's own bacteria at birth, then the baby's microbiome, is left "incomplete". Consequently, that baby's immune system may never develop to its full potential. source
How to Help After Birth
After birth, the bacteria continues to grow through contact with the mother and breastfeeding. Try to ensure the following:
- Hold baby skin to skin and kiss your baby
- Make sure that you hold baby immediately after birth - in the operating room
- Breastfeed source and source
- Practice skin-to-skin
- Avoid bathing baby for at least 24 hours after birth, and then only use plain water for at least 4 weeks. source
- Bring blankets from home to use on baby at the hospital
- Minimize the handling of baby by non-family members during the first weeks – particularly skin to skin contact.
- Avoid giving baby unnecessary antibiotics. Again, if antibiotics are required probiotics need to be considered. source
- Probiotics may also be beneficial for babies suffering from colic.