A ‘bath’ of vaginal bacteria enriches the microbiome of babies born by C section

Caesarean births in children are not exposed to the mother’s vaginal microbiome, which has been associated with an increased risk of immune and metabolic diseases. A pilot study has been achieved for the first time, partially transfer these bacteria cleaning newborns with gauze incubated in the vagina of progenitor one hour before the birth.

Babies born by cesarean acquire a microbiome-the set of organisms that live in the human body-which differs from those born in a vaginal delivery. Not being in contact with the bacteria in the vagina of the mother, they lose the opportunity to enrich their microbiome with them, and this has been associated with an increased risk of certain immune and metabolic diseases. Now, thanks to the method developed in a pioneering study, these maternal bacteria can get the baby even if the birth happens surgically.

A team of American researchers has developed a technique that involves cleaning the newborn within two minutes after birth with gauze incubated in the vagina of the mother, with the aim of transferring maternal microorganisms.

Researchers collected samples from 18 children, seven born vaginally and 11 by cesarean section, four of whom were treated with the new method. A month after birth four children showed similar to those born in a vaginal delivery microbiome, although the researchers point out that the transfer of microbes was not complete.

A first step

“This method is important for two reasons: firstly because we know that birth by cesarean section means that, not being exposed to vaginal microbes, the baby takes on a very different from those born vaginally microbiome,” he explains to SINC José Clemente, a researcher Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-author of the study.

“Secondly, because the cesarean birth is associated with an increased risk of developing immune and metabolic diseases,” lists the scientist.

The cost of treatment is minimal, so that someday could eventually be used as usual. However, scientists point out that the time is still far.

“This is a pilot study is done to determine if a method is safe and feasible, which is precisely what we have tried in this article,” says Clemente.

“First we have to determine if the restoration of the microbiome which have submitted is really enough and if you have beneficial effects for the baby. This will require studies with a larger number of participants we can measure reliably if being exposed to vaginal microbes actually reduces the incidence of diseases, “concludes the researcher.

Bibliographic reference:

Maria G Dominguez-Bello et al. “Partial restoration of the microbiota of infants born via cesarean-vaginal microbial transfer” Nature Medicine (1 February 2016) DOI: 10.1038 / nm.4039