New York: Opting for a vaginal birth can make your baby healthier as researchers have found that this practice is beneficial for inter-generational transfer of the microbiome from mother to infant, which is crucial for the newborn to build strong immunity.
Perturbation of the microbiome environment in the gut during pregnancy, delivery and early infancy could impact the developing baby's early microbiome and set the stage for health problems later in life, the study said.
The term "microbiome" refers to the trillions of organisms we harbor on our skin and within our respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.
"Not only do we have to consider the microbiome of the child but also that of the mother, and the irony is that some of our modern medical practices, through their effect on these early microbiota, could have unintended consequences, interfering with normal development of children's immune, metabolic, and neurologic systems," explained Sharon Meropol, assistant professorat Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Ohio, US.
"Disturbed microbiota could potentially contribute to a wide range of childhood diseases including allergies, asthma, obesity, and autism-like neurodevelopmental conditions," Meropol said.
Recent studies suggest that traditional practices like vaginal births, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and breastfeeding may promote the development of the microbiome in the infant and help set the trajectory towards healthy development, the researchers pointed out in their review of studies.
The research was published in the journal Birth Defects Research.