Do babies have bacteria in their gut?

The development of the microbiome (gut bacteria) is essential for life and develops throughout the first 2-3 years of life, after which its configuration is set for the rest of our lives.

Until recently, a baby’s gut was considered to be sterile until birth, when bacteria from the birth canal and the environment initiated the development of the microbiome.

Recent research is challenging this belief however, indicating that the gut bacteria is more developed prior to birth than previously thought.

This research suggests that a foetus (developing baby) has its own bacteria living in its gut, that are transmitted from the mother during pregnancy. The research also indicates that the presence of this bacteria supports early immune development in preparation for the outside world.

Whilst the composition of the bacteria varied depending on pregnancy term (babies involved in the study were born between 24 weeks of pregnancy and full-term), supporting the mother’s microbiome during pregnancy might be important for both mum and baby.

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ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107

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