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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Partial restoration of the microbiota of cesarean-born infants via vaginal microbial transfer.

  • Author(s): Dominguez-Bello, Maria G
  • De Jesus-Laboy, Kassandra M
  • Shen, Nan
  • Cox, Laura M
  • Amir, Amnon
  • Gonzalez, Antonio
  • Bokulich, Nicholas A
  • Song, Se Jin
  • Hoashi, Marina
  • Rivera-Vinas, Juana I
  • Mendez, Keimari
  • Knight, Rob
  • Clemente, Jose C
  • et al.

Published Web Location

Exposure of newborns to the maternal vaginal microbiota is interrupted with cesarean birthing. Babies delivered by cesarean section (C-section) acquire a microbiota that differs from that of vaginally delivered infants, and C-section delivery has been associated with increased risk for immune and metabolic disorders. Here we conducted a pilot study in which infants delivered by C-section were exposed to maternal vaginal fluids at birth. Similarly to vaginally delivered babies, the gut, oral and skin bacterial communities of these newborns during the first 30 d of life was enriched in vaginal bacteria--which were underrepresented in unexposed C-section-delivered infants--and the microbiome similarity to those of vaginally delivered infants was greater in oral and skin samples than in anal samples. Although the long-term health consequences of restoring the microbiota of C-section-delivered infants remain unclear, our results demonstrate that vaginal microbes can be partially restored at birth in C-section-delivered babies.

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