Australian moms giving birth by C-section are swabbing their newborn babies with their vaginal fluid in the hope that it will boost their immune system.
A new birth trend called seeding, where babies born by C-section are swabbed with their mother’s vaginal fluid, is quickly gaining ground amongst Australian moms.
This practice came about after several studies showed the gut bacteria of babies born via C-section differ from those born vaginally, which may slow down the development of their immune system. According to a recent study published in the BMJ journal Gut, lowered microbial diversity exists for at least the first two years of life and may lead to a greater predisposition to a range of health issues, including asthma and allergies.
“A baby born vaginally is exposed to about 300 different bacteria as it comes down the birth canal. These bacteria set up the child’s microbiome, which is what enables his body to defend against all kinds of diseases. Obviously, when a baby is born by C-section, they aren’t exposed to these bacteria and their immune systems aren’t as strong as a result. We believe this is part of the reason why children born via C-section have an increased risk of autoimmune diseases,” Dr Hannah Dahlen, associate professor of midwifery at the University of Western Sydney, told Australian parenting website mums.bodyandsoul.com.au/.
While the benefits of this practice haven’t been scientifically proven yet, there’s hope that a baby born by C-section’s microbiome and his immune system will become more similar to that of a baby born vaginally, and that his risk of disease will reduce.
Read more here.
Would you consider this practice if you thought it could benefit your baby? We’d love to hear from you. Leave your answer in the comments, or tweet us @LivingLovingMag.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.