C-Sections: Study Gives These Babies Missed Germs To Help Immune System

First Posted: Feb 02, 2016 02:12 PM EST

Babies born via cesarean section may be missing out on a critical amount of protective germs that come from the mother's birth canal. New findings published in the journal Nature Medicine reveal that giving babies born by C-section a dose of protective germs that they would have otherwise received through the birth canal can help in the building of bacteria that colonizes in their intestinal tract--otherwise known as microbiome.

During this recent experiment, researchers at New York University took 1,500 samples of different body sites to see how the infants' own microbiomes were developing, according to Health Day

"What we are going to show is how babies assemble their microbiome," said microbiologist and NYU-researcher Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello of New York University, who lead the study. "Do C-section babies ever catch up?"

Researchers specifically exposed the babies born via C-section to microbial neighborhoods similar to vaginally born infants by swabbing them with the bacteria species Lactobacillus and Bacteroides, which plays a role in training the immune system and is nearly absent in untreated C-section babies.

Now, researchers hope to determine if early microbiome development will translate to better health later on. Previous findings have suggested that babies born via C-section may be at an increased risk of developing asthma, allergies and various other health conditions.

Furthermore, Dr. Alexander Khoruts of the University of Minnesota notes in an accompany article that the authors "have taken an important first step toward developing active interventions that may someday enhance the introduction of the newborn to microbial partners and facilitate a life-long healthy symbiotic relationship," according to CBS News.

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