Fascinating new research finds evidence that a fetus could be exposed to some of the mother's bacteria before birth.

The "main seeding event" for founding the infant microbiome happens during birth (after the water's break) with the baby acquiring the mother's vaginal and gut microbes (if vaginally born). Then the baby acquires more of the mother's bacteria from skin-to-skin and breastfeeding, then more bacteria from other environmental exposures.

All these bacterial exposures helps with the training of the baby's developing immune system.

This new research indicates the baby may be exposed to small quantities of bactereia in utero - this potential prenatal pre-seeding could help lay the foundations for the optimal development of the infant immune system and other body systems.

"Maternal-fetal transmission of microbes during gestation would likely have a significant impact on the fetal immune system, gut, and brain. Additionally, this early scaffolding of the f etal microbiome could influence postnatal colonization events. Thus, it is essential to conclusively determine whether the fetus harbors a microbiome, or whether the purported fetal microbiome is merely the result of contamination and other methodological errors"

IMAGE:From 20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body By Gray38.png: User Magnus Manske on en.wikipediaderivative work: Amada44Gray38.png, Public Domain

This paper concludes:

"Here we have provided the first full-length 16S rRNA gene survey of meconium and amniotic fluid. Our data suggest that the fetus is exposed to bacterial DNA and metabolites prior to birth"

Science ref: Stinson Lisa F., Boyce Mary C., Payne Matthew S., Keelan Jeffrey A., The Not-so-Sterile Womb: Evidence That the Human Fetus Is Exposed to Bacteria Prior to Birth, Front. Microbiol., 4th June 2019, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01124 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/…/fmicb.2019.01124/full

If you want to find out more about the importance of the infant microbiome, take our FREE mini-course approved for 1 L-CERP (IBLCE) and 1 CPD HOUR (ACM)