A huge study of babies’ stool samples under “baby biome” project has found key differences between infants born vaginally and via Caesarean section, offering clues about the development of the human immune system in early age. Vaginally born babies got most of their gut bacteria from their mother, whereas C-section babies received it from the hospital surrounding. The study helps to understand the development of human immunity.
The research, published in the journal Nature, scientists from University College London, Wellcome Sanger Institute and Birmingham University used DNA sequencing to analyse more than 1,600 gut bacteria samples from 175 mothers and almost 600 babies.
“The first weeks of life are a critical window of development of the baby’s immune system, but we know very little about it,” said Peter Brocklehurst, a Birmingham University professor who co-led the study.
Samples taken from mothers and from the babies at four, seven and 21 days old have shown a significant difference between the two delivery methods – with vaginally delivered babies having many more health-associated bacteria from their mothers than babies born by Caesarean. Which directly indicate that vaginally delivered babies are healthier.
In place of mother’s bacteria, the C-section babies had more bacteria typically found in hospitals, and these bacterias are more likely to be drug-resistant.