How important are the beginning stages of a baby’s development? Researchers are finding that even factors like length of gestation and method of delivery can play an important role in the development of an infant’s gut microbiota. The human gut harbors a multifaceted community of more than one hundred trillion microbial cells that affect human metabolism, physiology, immune function and nutrition. The interference of the gut microbiota is associated with gastrointestinal problems like obesity and inflammatory bowel illness.

Important Factors in an Infant’s Gut Microbiota Maturation: Length of Gestation and Method of Delivery

Infant Gut Microbiota Maturation

Crown rump lengh 12 weeks ecografia Dr. Wolfgang Moroder. CC BY-SA 3.0

According to a recent study conducted by researchers from the EpiGen consortium and scientists at Nestle Research Center in Switzerland, environment factors such as the duration of gestation and the method of delivery may influence how baby’s gut grows. They found that this rate can aid in predicting the baby’s possible body fat at later stages. The result was taken from their study of 75 babies. Among the seventy-five babies, those who were delivered vaginally and had experienced a lengthy gestation prior to giving birth, tended to develop mature gut microbiota and a healthy body fat at eighteen months. Meanwhile infants who were delivered through the Caesarian process and had shorter gestation periods took longer to obtain a further mature gut microbiota and had inferior body fat at eighteen months.

This group of researchers utilized a lab technology known as 16s rRNA running to examine stool samples of the seventy five babies joining in the study. Their stool samples were taken when the babies were 3 days old, 3 weeks old, 3 months old and 6 months old. The main goal of the study was to assess the role of developmental elements in the early days of gestation to metabolic illnesses. Their work found out that the stool samples can be categorized into 3 unique clusters based on when the babies’ gut microbiota cultivated.

Out of the 75 babies, 17 of them had a well-developed gut microbiota, by day three. This matured microbiota is high in Collinsella and Bifidobacteria bacteria. Sixteen out these babies where vaginally delivered. Other infants took up to six months to obtain the same gut microbiota maturation. Babies who have quickly acquired a high profile of Collinsella and Bifidobacteria bacteria in their early days will typically have a healthy body fat by eighteen months.

Researchers have concluded that environment, mode of delivery and length of gestation can have a great impact on  the maturation of the infant’s gut microbiota. The gut houses the healthy bacteria necessary for immunity, digestion and overall health. It is important for children to have strong beginnings in life, in order to aid the healthy development of their bodily systems.


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