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Vaginal Microbiota Transfers Boost C-Section Infants' Gut Microbiome Maturation

Vaginal microbiota transfers to newborns delivered via Cesarean section speed gut microbiome maturation and may influence infants' early development, a new study has found. Previous studies have found that babies born by C-section tend to have different gut microbiomes than their vaginally delivered peers and are more likely to have adverse health outcomes, which has led to practices like vaginal microbiota transfers (VMTs). In a blinded study appearing in Cell Host & Microbe, a team led by researchers from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, evaluated the efficacy of VMTs by randomly assigning 68 babies born by C-section either to undergo VMT by through a gauze imbued with vaginal fluid or a saline gauze. They found no differences in adverse events between the two treatment groups but note that the gut microbiomes of infants who underwent VMT matured more quickly. VMT-treated infants also scored higher on a measure of neurodevelopment, as compared to those who received saline. In a statement, senior author Yan He says that he and his colleagues plant to conduct longer and larger studies. "We want to know if vaginal microbiota seeding has the potential to reduce the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children, such as ADHD, ASD, and intellectual disabilities," he says.