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Study: C-Sections May Not Affect Your Baby’s Expanding Microbiome

flickr / Lucas Pettinati

Sadly, from the second your baby is born they’re living bacteria traps. Being a person is, unfortunately, a lot like being a petri dish. But like anything else in life, you want your kid to get more of the good than the bad. The good bacteria are all the microbes your baby needs to protect them, and new research has a gut load of good news. Take that, bad bac.

Prior to this study, it was thought that the microbiome in children takes years to expand and mature. But when researchers from Baylor University took microbe samples from 160 mothers and their babies across multiple sites, they found their microbiome expanded greatly by 4 to 6 weeks of age. Their tiny bodies also began to separate it like an adult — that means the oral, skin, and gut microbiome became distinct. Dr. Kjersti Aagaard, co-author of the study, found it “rather remarkable.” And you thought you were the only one who thought your kid’s germs were remarkable.

When researchers controlled for the medical reasons women get c-sections (like pre-eclampsia) and the treatments (i.e. antibiotics), they found no difference in microbiome development between cesarean and vaginally born babies. Aagaard’s study suggests one of the variables they controlled for — either the health condition that precipitated the c-section or the treatment itself — could be the root cause of altered microbiome, but not necessarily the surgery. The main takeaway is how important it is to answer this question with further study and develop necessary interventions.

“We perform cesarean deliveries every day for really good reasons, and we need to be cautious that we do not assign risk to the wrong source, or misattribute risk to a surgery itself rather than the underlying reason that the surgery was undertaken,” Dr. Aagaard’s team concluded. Solving this would give about 1,284,551 parents one less thing to worry about, according to the CDC’s numbers. That way, parents can get back to fighting the bad bacteria. Starting with that guacamole that’s been in the fridge too long.

[H/T] Medical Express