A caesarean section performed when medically necessary is an essential surgery for mother and child survival. In 2018, 32% of all infant births in the United States were performed by caesarean section. Caesarean deliveries are risky and involve major surgery. One of the least discussed complications of a caesarean section is the potential negative impact it can have on a child’s bowel health after surgery. More research has been done over the past decade to determine the gastrointestinal microbiome and health differences between infants born from natural or caesarean births. For example, cesarean section infants have a greater chance of developing childhood asthma if their gut microbiomes remain the same after one year than vaginal delivery infants. So what are the differences between the gut microbiomes of infants born vaginally or by cesarean section?
What are the differences between the gut microbiomes of infants born either by natural childbirth or by caesarean section (caesarean section)?
When an infant is delivered vaginally, the infant migrates through the birth canal and is exposed to its mother’s vaginal microbiome (hopefully the microbiome is healthy). The child’s brief exposure to their mother’s microbiome is an important source of early microbiome colonization in the child. However, this direct vaginal microbiome seeding is absent during a caesarean section. Bacteria in the environment colonize the child’s microbiome. Several studies have discussed how big the difference is in the microbiome of infants with a caesarean section. A recent study showed that children born by cesarean section had more significant colonies of opportunistic bacteria, including Clostridioides Difficile, Enterococcus, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Staphylococcus, Streptococcus. The difference was a stark contrast between the two administration methods and the health of the infant microbiome, which one of the study’s authors, Trevor Lawley, explained: “I could take a sample from a child and tell you with a high degree of certainty how they were born. “According to the study, the child’s microbiomes looked more similar months after birth when tested. However, it found that a very important commensal bacterium, Bacteroides, was significantly reduced.
Bacteroides are gram-negative, anaerobic (but survive in oxygenated environments), non-endospore forming bacteria. Since these are gram-negative bacteria, lipopolysaccharides (endotoxins) form their cell wall. Granted, Bacteroides endotoxins don’t cause as strong an immune response or inflammation as other bacteria like proteobacteria (Helicobacter and Klebsiella are examples). Bacteroides are also widespread in our environment. Bacteroides endotoxins help regulate our child’s gastrointestinal immune system in our intestinal lymph tissue. Bacteroides are found in the soil, in the ocean, often on the skin and in the gut microbiome of animals. Finally, other studies have shown that cesarean section infants also decreased colonization of the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.
Infants with a caesarean section are more likely to suffer from a variety of conditions, including allergic rhinitis, asthma, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, and gastroenteritis. The diseases are likely caused by infants born by caesarean section who have a tendency to develop gastrointestinal dysbiosis shortly after birth.
If you are having a c-section, what can be done to improve your child’s microbiome?
Breastfeeding is critical to improving your child’s gastrointestinal microbiome. Eat healthy like the Perfect Health Diet Hopefully, eating unprocessed organic foods while breastfeeding will improve the quality of your milk. Vaginal seeding is also currently being studied to see if it can improve the microbiome of a cesarean infant. Vaginal seeding is when vaginal fluids are removed from the mother with a cotton swab after birth and the vaginal flora is transferred to the child’s mouth, nose and / or skin. In general, I do not recommend vaginal seeding. However, if your vaginal microbiome is relatively healthy and you did not have bacterial vaginosis or yeast infection for more than six months (the longer the better) before giving birth, I would ask your obstetrician about it. I would recommend anyone who has ever had a sexually transmitted disease not to practice vaginal sowing, especially if you have or suffer from a vaginal disease Herpes (acquired from birth Herpes can cause serious illness). Fecal transplants may be required in severe cases of cesarean dysbiosis, but we need to study their use in infants before I can recommend their use. Finally, when you ask your doctor about supplementing your child with a great probiotic like Infant Smidge Probiotic Powder, it can improve the gastrointestinal microbiome and hopefully prevent or alleviate dysbiosis. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/delivery.htm  https://stm.sciencemag.org/content/12/569/eaax9929  https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02807-x  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110651/  https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-019-1560-1  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110651/  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110651/