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Nat Med. 2016 Mar;22(3):250-3. doi: 10.1038/nm.4039. Epub 2016 Feb 1.

Partial restoration of the microbiota of cesarean-born infants via vaginal microbial transfer.

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School of Medicine, New York University, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA.
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
New York University Tandon School of Engineering, New York, New York, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical Science Campus, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.
Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Immunology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.


Exposure of newborns to the maternal vaginal microbiota is interrupted with cesarean birthing. Babies delivered by cesarean section (C-section) acquire a microbiota that differs from that of vaginally delivered infants, and C-section delivery has been associated with increased risk for immune and metabolic disorders. Here we conducted a pilot study in which infants delivered by C-section were exposed to maternal vaginal fluids at birth. Similarly to vaginally delivered babies, the gut, oral and skin bacterial communities of these newborns during the first 30 d of life was enriched in vaginal bacteria--which were underrepresented in unexposed C-section-delivered infants--and the microbiome similarity to those of vaginally delivered infants was greater in oral and skin samples than in anal samples. Although the long-term health consequences of restoring the microbiota of C-section-delivered infants remain unclear, our results demonstrate that vaginal microbes can be partially restored at birth in C-section-delivered babies.

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