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Discussion Starter #1
This article was really interesting about the affect of the expectant mother's gut bacteria on the baby's immune system and lifelong protection/susceptibility to disease.

I haven't watched the video yet, but the article didn't mention seeding the baby's gut after a c-section via a swab of vaginal fluid (which isn't talked about much anywhere...yet?)

Also talks about the importance of sufficient vitamin D during pregnancy.
 

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I haven't watched the video yet either, but I think this is really important. As someone who suffers from a compromised gut microbiome (I was birthed vaginally but was on antibiotics multiple times a year as a child (unnecessarily, thanks to a doctor who loved prescribing them for everything), I can attest to the many, many damaging effects it has on the body. It's really important to me that my child doesn't start off that way. I'm concerned that, my gut flora being so messed up already, I will just pass on less-than-ideal bacteria to my baby. I'm taking a very strong, well-studied probiotic (at the urging of a much better doctor) and have been on it since well before pregnancy, and I hope that helps.

I'm heartened by the fact that my mom has very unbalanced vaginal flora, and I don't. I've only had two or three yeast infections in my life, and she gets nearly that many a year. So maybe the translation from mother to baby isn't one-to-one. I hope my baby has healthier gut flora than I do.

I'm a little confused about the idea of seeding the gut with a swab from the mother's vagina, though. The studies I've read seem to suggest that the vagina and intestine prefer/are hospitable to a pretty different bacterial profile. I kind of always assumed that the reason vaginal birth works for helping develop the gut biome is that everything down there is very close together, and some gut bacteria are probably present at or near the mother's vaginal opening (who knows, maybe there's a reason why we tend to poop during labor!). So I wonder if a clean vaginal swab from inside the vagina would have quite the same effect on the baby's gut. I'm more interested in fecal transplants for unhealthy guts, although that would require so much testing to make sure you weren't currently hosting a pathogen or parasite.

All of that is a looooong time coming, though. Our medical culture would have to undergo a complete paradigm shift. Maybe someday, but probably not in time for any of our babies! For now, I guess we try as hard as we can for a vaginal birth, and if it doesn't work out, we do what we can to promote good bacteria development in those developing tummies.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Which probiotic do you take? I eat homemade, raw milk kefir, regularly, as well as veggie ferments, but am considering adding in pbx.

As for vaginal flora being passed on during birth, I don't know. I've given birth 4 times and have never pooped during labor/birth. I don't *really* know what my kids' guts are like, but they seem to be free of any noticeable related issues, thank goodness.

I often joke that if I ever ended up having a c-section, I'd rub my baby, face and all, between my legs after birth. I'm sure that sentence will be quoted on some drama site somewhere... :lol

But really, if fecal transplant works, why wouldn't that?
 

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Haha, I guess sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands! Er...crotch!

I take VSL #3 . They say you need to be working with a "medical professional" to buy it, but you can buy it off of their website without a prescription or note. I think they just say that to cover their butts. My nutritionist and GP recommended it as a possible solution to various issues I have (IBS, severe bloating, eczema, brain fog, fatigue...I have a long list of "nuisance" ailments like that). I was trying to suss out a food intolerance, and I did (nightshades, especially potatoes!), but they both suspected I needed to do more than restrict my diet.

It's super expensive. I take the lowest recommended dose because of that (2 pills daily). And I can't imagine being able to afford to stay on it forever, which is too bad because ingested probiotics tend not to live in the digestive system for more than a few weeks without taking them regularly. Your indigenous flora just eventually wins out every time.

But VSL is one of the few probiotics that has been studied enough to show that it definitely makes it through the digestive tract to take up residence in the colon as long as you take it daily, and it has proven benefits for certain gut disorders. It has way, way more bacteria than anything you can find OTC (which is maybe why it persists so well in the GI tract), and I think 8 different strains. I did find a dramatic improvement in my gut health, eczema, and general inflammation and level of energy after being on it for a while. Going off potatoes surely helped me, too, but I think the VSL did a lot.

If you do buy it (or really any probiotic), my nutritionist recommended starting slow. Only take half a pill the first few days, then bump up to one, then bump up to two. You can have some bloating at first when you start taking it, so slowly building up is easier on the gut.

But maybe if you're generally healthy and not having problems, an OTC probiotic would be enough. I preferred to have one that was proven to survive the upper GI because I really needed the help, but if it's just added insurance, maybe something less intense would be fine!
 

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I have been very interested in this, also, though never been in the situation (yet ) to need to worry about it at birth. I am more focussed in our lives in the big picture challenges (like effects of mass antibiotics). I was looking for the book whose author I heard an interview with this Spring or Summer (last link) and found a few other interesting ones.

One of many studies - this one Canadian - that again confirms what we know about the micro bacteria's role at birth:
http://www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/pr/11feb13_pr.xhtml

*Great summary article*
Site that overviews the various research areas on this topic and suggests that the research is still required to confirm best solutions - but it does address the question of how to provide baby born via c-section with the microbes it needs - it involves inserting a tampon-like gauze into vagina for about an hour just prior to birth, then keeping it in a sterile container until it can be given to baby as soon after birth as possible.

http://tinyurl.com/oo6usbh

Martin Blaser also recently released this book - going back over the history of our the transformation of the Microbiome - and he includes discussion of what would ideally work for babies not exposed to vaginal and faecal bacteria at birth. As I recall, the suggestion is similar to the one in the midwife site above. Interesting book.

http://www.amazon.ca/Missing-Microbes-Overuse-Antibiotics-Fueling/dp/0805098100
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That midwife article is excellent! Perhaps it would be worth using the gauze-tampon even in expected vaginal birth in the rare (depending where you're birthing) chance labor would end in emergency c-section...
 

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I will have a planned c-section (I have a transabdominal cerclage (tac) high up on my cervix that can't be removed so that I can go to term) and I am wondering about what I can put in my birth plan that will support my baby since he won't be traveling vaginally? Anything? Or do I just need to do the "seeding" privately…
 
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