The human body is home to an estimated 100tn microorganisms that form a complex ecosystem known as the microbiome, a report by the Guardian said.
Found in the intestines, colon, lungs, skin, and vagina, among other places; these microorganism possess health benefits to the immune system, and they assist the body dealing with infection and processing food.
The report says that right after birth, “a baby’s microbiome closely resembles the bacteria of the mom’s vagina,” and this is believed to give the baby protection from harmful pathogens and illnesses after birth.
When a baby is born via C-section, he doesn’t get the dose of mummy-bacteria that a baby born via vaginal birth gets.
And so to compensate, mothers turn to a trend called vaginal seeding, a practice which involves swabbing the mother’s vaginal fluids all over the baby’s mouth, face, and skin after birth.
READ: How to Avoid Giving Birth via Cesarean Section
But now doctors are warning mothers against this practice.
Vaginal seeding can lead to severe infections in newborns—particularly where the mother has not been screened for disease.
Imperial College London’s senior lecturer, Aubrey Cunnington, said: “Many countries (including the United Kingdom and Australia) do not screen all women for these pathogens in pregnancy, and with 20-30 percent of pregnant women carrying group B streptococcus, vaginal seeding could result in many unintended neonatal exposures.”
“We have already needed to intervene to prevent vaginal seeding from a woman with genital herpes, and we expect trouble if the procedure gains wide popularity,” he added.
READ: Postnatal care for new moms: C-section and Natural birth
The British Medical Journal also advises health professionals not to do it. As for mothers who have already done it, they advised that they contact their doctors if their babies get sick.
“Of course, this may change in the future if evidence emerges to show clear health benefits of vaginal seeding,” the Journal said. “But at the moment the jury remains out on whether vaginal seeding actually does more harm than good.”
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