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Partial restoration of the microbiota of cesarean-born infants via vaginal microbial transfer.

ABSTRACT

Exposure of newborns to the maternal vaginal microbiota is interrupted with cesarean birthing. Babies delivered by cesarean section (C-section) acquire a microbiota that differs from that of vaginally delivered infants, and C-section delivery has been associated with increased risk for immune and metabolic disorders. Here we conducted a pilot study in which infants delivered by C-section were exposed to maternal vaginal fluids at birth. Similarly to vaginally delivered babies, the gut, oral and skin bacterial communities of these newborns during the first 30 d of life was enriched in vaginal bacteria-which were underrepresented in unexposed C-section-delivered infants-and the microbiome similarity to those of vaginally delivered infants was greater in oral and skin samples than in anal samples. Although the long-term health consequences of restoring the microbiota of C-section-delivered infants remain unclear, our results demonstrate that vaginal microbes can be partially restored at birth in C-section-delivered babies.