Prompt: List and describe potential factors that the mother or the infant could be exposed to that could influence the colonization of the microbial community in the newborn infant (in positive or negative ways).
- Diet of mother-The diet of the mother controls which microbial communities are present in her gut, mouth, and vagina. Her diet also determines whether or not she will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
- Antibiotics taken by mother-If the mother takes antibiotics during her pregnancy (or prior to becoming pregnant), it is likely she has some level of dysbiosis that could affect the future microbial communities of her unborn baby.
- Pre-/Probiotics taken by mother-If the mother takes pre-or probiotics prior to- or during pregnancy, this could help to retain or enhance her already present microbial communities.
- How baby is born-If the baby is born vaginally, they will be colonized with bacteria from the mother’s vagina. If the baby is born via c-section, the baby will be colonized with bacteria from the mother’s skin. One way is not necessarily “better”, but vaginal births are the most “natural” birth method, so I would guess babies are exposed to more diversity of microbes if they are born vaginally vs via c-section.
- If baby is breastfed or bottle fed-If the baby is breastfed, they are coming into microbes on the mother’s skin and in her milk, which would help to enhance colonization of microbial communities.
- Hospital environment-The environment in which the baby is born could definitely contribute to the baby’s microbial communities, either in a positive or negative way depending on which microbes were present in the room, if the baby were born in an operating room vs being a home birth.
- Home environment-Similar to the hospital environment, if a newborn baby comes home to a house with pets or other siblings, they will likely be exposed to a much different set of microbes than a home with no animals. A home in the city vs out in the country could change the microbial communities present too.