IT IS PROVED:
Proper development of gut microbiota is crucial to the health of an adult
Proper development of gut microbiota is crucial for the development of the immune system of newborns. This is supported by a large number of studies showing that poorly developed gut microbiota can be the cause of a number of illnesses later in life.
A lot of factors influence the proper development of the gut microbiota of newborns:
- Pre-natal factors are primarily determined by mothers
Mothers’ diet or the use of antibiotics and the presence of infections determine the infant gut microbiota development. Studies have indicated that the use of antibiotics in the pre-delivery period reduces the diversity of good bacteria in infants’ gut microbiota.
Additionally, mother’s hygiene, and tooth hygiene have also considerable impact on the composition of the gut microbiota of newborns.
- Types of childbirth and delivery methods
A microbial community starts inhabiting a gastrointestinal tract at birth. At birth, a baby is exposed to the mother’s probiotic bacteria through a maternal birth canal. Naturally, health-stimulating good bacteria that reside there start inhabiting the gastrointestinal tract of a newborn. Whereas, caesarean-born babies are born with sterile intestines, so the only bacteria they are going to receive are from doctors and nurses who care about them. Bear in mind that mostly they are the carriers of infections. Therefore, doctors, particularly to this sensitive group, prescribe clinically proven probiotics immediately after the birth to help newborns develop their gastrointestinal tract with healthy gut bacteria instead of just being influenced by bacteria from hospital environment.
Researches show that it takes 6 months for caesarean-born infants to reach the number of gut bacterial community that vaginally-born infants have at birth.
- Time spent in mother’s womb/The duration of gestation
Babies who have spent most of pregnancy in mother’s womb (9 months) have a more diversified gut microbiota and do not need prolonged exposure to antibiotics. The longer infants stay in mother’s womb until their due date, the more good bacteria they have at birth. On the other hand, the shorter their gestation period is, the more streptococci they will develop which consequently leads to neonatal infections.
Breastfeeding should be a priority and it is necessary to breastfeed a baby as long as it is possible since breastfeeding stimulates the development of a healthy gut microbiota. Studies indicate that formula-fed babies have twice as small amount of good bifidobacteria as breastfed babies.
It is therefore said that the first 1000 days of life (which means the period of pregnancy, the first and the second year of life) are crucial for the development of gut microbiota. The type of gut microbiota developed in childhood will determine its quality in the long run, that is, it determines whether we are going to develop into a healthy person or to be prone to some diseases.
A lack of good bacteria in a gastrointestinal tract can result in short-term disorders, such as digestive discomfort, colic/cramps, infectious diarrhea, eczema and allergy to food, as well as long-term or lifelong disorders, such as atopic diseases, autoimmune diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders and overall health.