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How to Build a Healthy Microbiome, Before, During, and After Birth

Story at-a-glance -

  • We may be setting the stage for obesity, asthma, allergy, and mental illness by neglecting the role of hospital-based microbial life and interference with maternal transfer of bacteria, in the birthing of our babies
  • It was long thought that the womb was a sterile environment. We’ve now come to understand that microbes exist in the placenta, umbilical cord, and fetal membranes, where they perform important functions
  • Research reveals that vaginal birth influences gene expression in enduring cell lines in newborns, and is important for healthy development
  • Vaginal home delivery, compared with vaginal hospital delivery, is associated with a decreased risk of eczema, sensitization to food allergens, and asthma
  • During pregnancy, avoid gluten, sugar, pesticides, and genetically modified foods such as virtually all corn, soy, and vegetable oils

By Kelly Brogan, MD

My patients are often surprised when I ask them where they were born and whether or not hospital walls and their mother’s vaginal canal were key players in their emergence.


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