A new study indicates a more normal gastrointestinal tract for C-Section birthed babies is possible.

A vaginal birth promotes normal gastrointestinal bacteria in the newborn as it is inoculated by mom’s bacteria on its way out while C-Section birthed babies seem to have a bacteria profile that is similar to what is found on our skin. The differences in the profiles can affect how the gastrointestinal tract functions for the life of the human as our gut bacteria are vital to metabolism, the immune system, and even the production of vitamins and hormones. A recent study done gives hope for C-Section delivered babies so that they may have more of a normal gastrointestinal bacteria profile; again, similar to what vaginal birth babies have. 

In the study, babies that were born via C-Section were swabbed with their mother’s vaginal bacteria after it was born. A gauze was placed in mom’s vagina for an hour prior to the C-Section then this gauze was rubbed on baby after it was born. A limitation of the study was that only a small number of babies were treated this way with the fluids, and they were only monitored for a short period of time after the fact. However, these babies had a gastrointestinal profile that was similar to vaginally delivered babies, but it still was not fully the same. In short, what we do not know is what the long term effects on the gauze wiped babies will be. 

In the future, I hope we continue to study the gastrointestinal bacteria profiles, and see if there are ways to better support C-Section babies gastrointestinal bacteria. As a Naturopathic Doctor, the gastrointestinal tract is the foundation of health for my field, and the healthier it is then the healthier the person is going to be. If we can support C-Section newborns to have a more normal gastrointestinal bacterial profile then we might be able to lower their risk of certain diseases that seem to be more common in C-Section babies including type 1 diabetes, obesity, and asthma. 

Using probiotics later in life does not seem to alter the innate profile of bacteria. After taking antibiotics, the microbiota goes back to our birth bacterial profile. Thus C-Section babies will go back to their skin-like profiles, and we can only continue to support more of a natural bacterial profile with the addition of probiotics. I hope more research and study is done on this subject as ways to help support C-Section babies bacteria profile is an important issue.

Source: Medical Daily

Image Credit: Day Donaldson (Flickr) CC 2.0