Do C-Section Babies Need Mum’s Microbes? Trials Tackle Controversial Idea

August 16, 2019

(Nature) – When a baby passes through its mother’s birth canal, it is bathed in a soup of microbes. Those born by caesarean section (C-section) miss out on this bacterial baptism, and researchers are sharply split on whether that increases the risk of chronic health problems such as obesity and asthma. A wave of clinical trials now under way could help to settle the question — and feed into the debate over whether seeding babies born by C-section with their mother’s vaginal bacteria is beneficial or potentially harmful. At least four groups of researchers — in the United States, Sweden and China — have begun separate experiments, in which they are swabbing hundreds of C-section babies with their mother’s microbes, while comparing them to a control group.