Writing Exercise #7

There are many factors that can affect both mother, baby, and their microbial communities during pregnancy. Environmental factors such as diet, exposure to carcinogens, as well as the mother’s lifestyle choices are some of the surface level factors. The mother’s health and microbial community can have a huge impact on the infants health. The skin microbiota alone is something that an infant has immediate contact with along with fecal microbiota and later on the milk microbiota. These can have both positive or negative effects depending on the mother’s health and communities. Children who are born via cesarean section may have different outcomes then children who are born via natural birth. This data has been seen in many studies, some documenting the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breast feeding and the initial diversity of those children’s microbiota. Another factor that has more of a negative impact is the usage of medication, particularly antibiotics. During pregnancy mothers can experience various illnesses and medication may be prescribed. Medication can have various effects on the child’s microbiota alone, but antibiotics seem to have a particularly negative affect. That being said, there are many ways that a mother and infant’s microbiota can change in tandem with each other.

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