Newborns delivered by cesarean section who are swabbed with the vaginal fluid of their mothers after birth have beneficial bacteria restored to their skin surface and stools, according to a new study. In the first randomized study of its kind, published in the science journal mBio, a team of researchers that included Rutgers scientists found the process, known as vaginal seeding, definitively engrafted new strains of maternal bacteria in the babies’ bodies. These strains normally wouldn’t be present in the newborns because, during C-sections, infants are directly extracted from their mothers’ wombs, bypassing the vaginal canal.
“Our study is the first double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether vaginal seeding causes maternal bacteria to engraft in the skin and stool of neonates,” said Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello, an author of the study and the Henry Rutgers Professor of Microbiome and Health at the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology in the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). To read the full story.