Writing Exercise #7

Certain factors that may influence the colonization of the microbial community in newborn infants can be positive and/or negative. Diet is the most obvious factor that could influence colonization of the gut in pregnant women. Studies showed that mice fed a high-fat diet showed changes in their gut flora as their pregnancies progressed. It wasn’t entirely clear if these changes were positive or negative, it was just clear that the diet had an impact on the gut flora [1]. Another obvious impact on the microbial population of an infant occurs after the first trimester. There appears to be an increase in the amount of  Actinobacteria and Proteobacteria, and a decrease in alpha diversity in the mom [1]. This could typically seen as bad since it isn’t consistent with that of a healthy non-pregnant woman, however, these changes are helpful for a pregnant woman because they are needed for the baby. Another influence that occurs in the third trimester are the levels of anti-inflammatory Faecalibacterium being reduced [1]. This is interesting because this bacterium is typically lower in metabolic syndrome patients which would give the impression that this would have a negative impact on the mother. However, the change is needed to prepare for the birth of the baby so it is therefore positive in terms of the birthing process. In the third trimester there were other factors that also appeared to influence the microbial population.  There was an increase in beta-diversity,  weight gain, insulin insensitivity, and an increase in fecal cytokines, which indicate inflammation. These all seemed to create changes in the microbial population that are needed to have a healthy pregnancy.


  1. Nuriel-Ohayon M, Neuman H, Koren O. 2016. Microbial Changes during Pregnancy, Birth, and Infancy. Frontiers in Microbiology.
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