New study suggests baby’s gut microbiome is unaffected by vaginal microbiome

New research suggests that exposure to the vaginal microbiome at birth may not affect a baby’s gut microbiome, as has long been assumed.Scientists from Canada A new study conducted by the team reveals that the composition of the maternal vaginal microbiome does not significantly affect the composition of the microbiome found in infant stool during early childhood.

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Challenge the hypothesis that vaginal delivery improves gut health in babies

Over the years, there has been a strong belief that vaginal births, as opposed to caesarean births, are beneficial to the health of the baby. This is because it is assumed that they are exposed to the microbiota that influences the development of the inner microbiome.

This hypothesis is supported by recent research, which suggests that mode of delivery has a significant impact on the gut microbiome of the baby, and that caesarean-born babies lack key microbes.New research published in the journal The Forefront of Cellular and Infectious MicrobiologyHowever, evidence has come to light that contradicts this long-standing hypothesis.

No relationship found between vaginal microbiome composition and babiesstool microbiome

This study was one of the largest mother-child cohort studies to date. We recruited over 600 Canadian women planning to have a vaginal or caesarean birth. Researchers took vaginal swabs from mothers before delivery to assess the vaginal microbiome. Stool samples were also collected from babies within 72 hours of age, 10 days of age and finally 3 months of age.

Analysis of the samples revealed that maternal vaginal microbiome composition was not a predictor of fecal microbiome composition at any of the three time points.

“Exposure to the maternal vaginal microbiota during vaginal delivery does not appear to establish the fecal microbiota of the infant.”

Deborah Money, Ph.D., Professor of Obstetrics, University of British Columbia

Scott Dos Santos, a PhD candidate at the University of Saskatchewan, who is responsible for the lab work and data analysis on this study, said: limited”. It is theorized that other factors, such as the environment and breast milk, may play a more important role in the establishment of the baby’s gut microbiota. To further understand these potential relationships needs further research.

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Role of antibiotics in the microbiome

This study found statistically significant differences in the stool microbiome composition of vaginally-born babies compared with caesarean-born babies at 10 days and 3 months of age. I was. Money hypothesizes that this difference may be related to antibiotic use. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of antibiotics on the developing gut microbiota of babies.

Further research is needed to fully understand the gut microbiota

Given the increasing importance of the gut microbiota in the pathology of many diseases, it is important to understand the true relationship between birth patterns and the baby’s gut microbiota.

Further research is needed to further understand the findings of this study. The researchers noted a limitation that stool microbiome samples were not collected from mothers. Future studies analyzing this kind of information may provide valuable perspectives. Moreover, further studies are needed to investigate the effects of antibiotic use on the development of the infant’s gut microbiota.


  • Communications, FS (2023). The baby’s gut microbiome is a frontier unaffected by maternal vaginal microbiome composition. [online] :~:text=Canadian%20researcher%20has%20looked at this [Accessed 30 Mar. 2023].
  • Callaway, E. (2019) Caesarean babies lack important microbes.” Nature [Preprint]Available at
  • Chang, K.-C. and others. (2012) Atomic Force Microscopy in Biology and Biomedicine,” Tzu Chi Medical Journal, 24(4), pp. 162-169. Available at
  • Xiao, Y. and others. (2019) Microbiota underdevelopment and colonization with opportunistic pathogens in cesarean delivery.” Nature, 574 (7776), pp. 117–121. Available at

written by

Sarah Moore

After studying psychology and then neuroscience, Sarah soon found her enjoyment in research and writing research papers. She is passionate about connecting ideas and people through writing.


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