Some Doctors Are Smearing C-Section Babies With Bacteria To Boost Their Health

Some Doctors Are Smearing C-Section Babies With Bacteria To Boost Their Health

A few years ago, I came across some research reporting that the way a child is born appears to have consequences for their health. How so? Scientists believe that the bacterial composition of a woman’s vagina changes during pregnancy in order to allow certain bacteria to coat the child as it passes through the birth canal during delivery. These bacteria are thought to promote healthy development and functioning. If a child is delivered via Caesarean section (i.e., C-section), that child does not have the benefit of being exposed to those bacteria and, as a result, could potentially experience worse health outcomes than those born vaginally. However, some doctors believe there may be a way to remedy this and boost the health of C-section babies.

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What’s In A Passionate Kiss? About 80 Million Bacteria

What’s In A Passionate Kiss? About 80 Million Bacteria

Some scientists have argued that kissing is an evolutionarily adaptive behavior. Their hypothesis is that, because kissing provides a mechanism for sharing certain types of bacteria and viruses, it could therefore potentially offer certain benefits, such as providing a form of immunization against viruses that might be harmful to a developing fetus (see here for more on this idea). However, there really hasn’t been any research on the biology of kissing that can speak to whether or not there is anything to back up this idea—until now. A new study just published in the journal Microbiome reveals that passionate kissing may fundamentally alter the composition of the microorganisms that colonize the insides of our mouths.

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Vaginal Delivery VS. C-Section: Does Different Bacterial Exposure During Childbirth Affect Kids' Health?

I heard a fascinating edition of NPR’s On Point this week about how the bacteria that colonize our bodies impact our health, influencing everything from digestion to immune functioning (you can listen to the entire show here). The thing I found most interesting about this program was when they discussed how some of the most vital bacteria for promoting healthy development and functioning are acquired during childbirth, specifically through vaginal delivery. The bacterial composition of a woman’s vagina actually changes during pregnancy, presumably to allow certain bacteria to coat the child as it passes through the birth canal. However, if a child is delivered via Caesarean section (or C-section), that child does not have the benefit of being exposed to those bacteria and, as a result, could potentially experience worse health outcomes. After hearing this program, I just had to do some digging to learn more about the research in this area.
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