As a fetus, it is very dangerous to be exposed to any bacteria and while children inherit their DNA and traits from their parents, they acquire their microbiome in an entirely different way! Once the baby passes through the birth canal it experiences its first exposure to bacteria. The birth canal is filled with bacteria and studies have shown that babies born by cesarean
are more prone to allergies and other health implications than babies born normally.

When a fetus develops and grows in a mother’s womb, it can’t risk coming in contact with bacteria. Let’s dive deeper and find out as to how babies end up acquiring microbiomes.

Although the gut bacterium takes hold in the infant’s body from various sources in the environment soon after birth, the single major source is from the mother.

  • During birth, as the infant moves through the birth canal, it picks up some bacteria along the way.
  • As the mother embraces the baby for the first time, the bacteria finds a perfect and convenient path to transfer itself to the baby.
  • The mother’s milk forms the most crucial part of the nutrition at the beginning of a human life. This is where the third and the most important level of acquisition occurs. Recent research bacterial fragments in mother’s milk has revealed that a diverse concoction of bacteria is constantly fed to the baby through mother’s milk. They postulate that these constitute the first seeds of bacteria in the gut.

Since a majority of good bacteria is consumed by babies on their way out of the birth canal,
babies born through cesarean deliveries are unable to acquire a microbiome in a similar
way.