Baby's First Gut Bacteria May Come From Mum's Mouth, Texas Children's Hospital And Baylor College of Medicine Study

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Babies in the womb are not as sheltered from the outside world as you might think. The placenta harbours a unique ecosystem of bacteria which may have a surprising origin – the mother's mouth. Disturbances of the placenta's bacterial community may explain why some women give birth prematurely, and could also be one of the ways that a woman's diet affects her offspring's gut bacteria, and as a result the child's disease risk. "Different nutrients [in the mother's diet] are a huge determinant of which microbes take up residence in the placenta," says Kjersti Aagaard of Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who led the study.

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