A significant difference exists between the fecal microbiota of hospital-born infants versus home-born infants, and the differences persist well into the first month of life. The study included 35 vaginally born, breast-fed neonates, 14 who were delivered at home and 21 who were delivered in the hospital. Eight maternal and infant feces samples were collected, as well as maternal vaginal swabs, throughout the study over a 28-day period. Hospital-born infants had lower more desirable Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, Bifidobacterium, Streptococcus, and Lactobacillus, and higher less desirable Clostridium and Enterobacteriaceae, than home-born babies. At 1-month of age, hospital-born infants possessed greater pro-inflammatory gene expression in colonic epithelial cells. Scientific Reports
→Takeaway: Researchers conclude that hospitalization during birth, whether because of perinatal interventions or the hospital environment, may affect the vaginal microbiome and the initial microbiota colonization of the newborn during labor and delivery. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, consider making arrangements to deliver in a birthing center or at home to optimize the microbial colonization of your child.