Obstetrics & Gynaecology Publications

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Microbiome Research Reports





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Background: The microbiota acquired at birth is known to play an intimate role in later life health and disease and has been shown to be affected by the mode of birth. There has been recent interest in microbiota correction by maternal vaginal seeding in Cesarean section-born infants; however, the safety of this practice has been debated. The aim of this study was to assess how other factors, such as timing of sampling, maternal obesity, vaginal Group B Streptococcus colonization (GBS), and antibiotic exposure, affect the maternal and infant microbiota.

Methods: Maternal vaginal and saliva samples were collected at three time periods: 35-37 weeks gestation (prenatal), within 24-36 hours after birth (birth), and at ~6 weeks postpartum. Infant saliva and stool samples were collected at ~6 weeks postpartum. 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing was utilized to assess the taxonomic and inferred functional compositions of the bacterial communities from both mothers and infants.

Results: Samples from 36 mothers and 32 infants were obtained. Gestational age, breastfeeding, mode of birth, and gravidity were associated with taxonomic alterations in the infant samples, while obesity, antibiotic use, and GBS status were not. Maternal samples were predominantly affected by time, whereby significant alterations including increased microbial diversity were seen at birth and persisted to 6 weeks postpartum.

Conclusion: This study provides information on the relationship between health and delivery factors and changes in vaginal and infant microbiota. These results may better direct clinicians and mothers in optimizing the infant microbiota towards health during infancy and later life.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.