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Seeding your baby’s microbiome – it’s more important that you might guess!

November 10, 2015

Today’s pleased to share a guest post from a fellow hypnobirthing practitioner.   Lori and I trained together in 2007.  But before we start, there is a new documentary, entitled MicroBirth, and watching it is a great introduction to this subject.  

The Microbiome: The Evidence Says… 

By Lori Nicholson, MPA, HBCE, CH, NLPP

  • Our microbiome consists of all of the organisms that live within and on us (e.g., bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa)
  • We need diversity in our microbes in order to fight pathogens and stave off disease; they are integral to our immune and metabolic health (Harman and Wakeford 2014)
  • Human microbial colonization begins in utero and develops in a non-random way-the baby inherits its microbiome from its mother and this “seeding” of the baby’s microbiota determines how the baby’s immune system will develop (Mueller et al. 2015)
  • The fetal immune system depends on adequate maternal nutrition; the mother’s intake of the micronutrients folate, iodine, and Vitamin D, and the fatty acid DHA, is especially important
  •  An unbalanced microbiome has been associated with several health challenges including: asthma, eczema, diabetes, and obesity (Munyaka PM, Khafipour E, Ghia J-E 2014)
  • The greatest challenges to the healthy development of the baby’s microbiome are: 1) Cesarean delivery; 2) antibiotic exposure before, during, or after birth; and 3) formula feeding (Mueller et al. 2015)

Microbiome birth

  The most important steps that can be taken to ensure the proper “seeding” of the baby are:

  • Step 1: Vaginal Birth
  • Step 2: Immediate skin-to-skin contact with the mother following birth
  • Step 3: Exclusive breastfeeding (preferably for at least six months) (Harman and Wakeford 2014)

  

As the baby who wants to be conceived, I want:

  • My mom to be of healthy weight, with a healthy microbiome herself; research shows that regular exercise, healthy eating, being a non-smoker, and having low stress levels are especially important for my mother’s health, and therefore, my health (Mueller et al. 2015)
  • To experience a vaginal birth, where I will be “seeded” with my mom’s healthy microbes
  • To experience birth without the use of any antibiotics or other interventions
  • To birth at home (in my own bacterial environment) and to have only blankets and clothes from that environment touch me
  • To experience immediate skin-to-skin with my mom and no separation from mom (to experience rooming-in, if in a hospital)
  • To be exclusively breastfed for 6 months or more

 

References:

Harman T and Wakeford A. Microbirth: Revealing the microscopic events during childbirth that could hold the key to the future of humanity. DVD. Alto Films: 2014.

Mueller NT et al. The infant microbiome development: mom matters. Trends Mol Med. 2015;21(2):109-117. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464665

Munyaka PM, Khafipour E, Ghia J-E. External influence of early childhood establishment of gut microbiota and subsequent health implications. Front Pediatr. 2014;2:109. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190989

 

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