A Study published in Scientific Reports in 2017, showed that early life events such as preterm birth, formula feeding and C- sections, have been shown to alter an infant’s intestinal micro flora.
Overall, the intestinal flora of infants born vaginally without exposure to antibiotics differed significantly from that of infants born vaginally but exposed to antibiotics and infants born by C-section.
In early life, friendly bacteria can be critically important to the healthy development of a baby and throughout its life. In the first hours and days following birth there is a rapid evolution of friendly gut bacteria, particularly strains of Bifidobacterium, which is the dominate infant gut colonizer over the first 12 weeks of life.
When initial exposure to the mother’s gut flora is altered by Caesarean section (C-section) and prophylaxis antibiotics to prevent infection during C-section, the infant’s gut floras has also been shown to significantly differ from babies born vaginally with no exposure to antibiotics. The difference was dramatic at early time points, but disappeared by 12 weeks of age in most infants.
Studies have also shown that when preterm babies are given probiotics after birth, they are less likely to develop a serious intestinal infection called NEC.
Taking probiotics during pregnancy can help populate the mother’s gut and her breast milk with friendly bacteria that can be passed on to her baby. When choosing a probiotic look for one with both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains.
Check with your doctor first before taking probiotics during pregnancy and for your new born.
Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 16527 Published online November 28th (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-16606-9