Birth and Bugs (the good sort)

Anyone that’s had a baby, or watched “Call the Midwife” or “One born every minute” knows birth is messy…and when we say messy we mean that you don’t labour in your Camilla … there’s fluid, it’s primal, innate and magical all in one! And amongst all the vernix, amniotic fluid and blood, are microbes (good bugs), which babies born vaginally are exposed to whilst making their way through the birth canal.

This exposure to approximately 300 ‘good bugs’ from the birth canal helps to build a child’s microbiome (the army of bugs that protects us from germs, breaks down food for energy, etc.).

But what happens if you don’t have a vaginal birth, and have a caesarean? – Does this mean bub misses out on these good bugs?

Not anymore! Let’s talk seeding…

With one in three bubbas being born in Australia via caesarean, and by bypassing the birth canal, it means that they are therefore not exposed to the bugs, which is leading to the ongoing research debating the lower levels of autoimmunity of bubs born by caesar. So it’s great to hear that there are now methods out there for littlies to receive these good bugs regardless, hopefully increasing immunity for all! (Research is still pending on the efficacy of this in comparison to vaginal birth…but it can’t hurt, right?)

How is seeding done?

Seeding is carried out by inserting a sterile swab into the vagina (like a tampon), leaving it there for a little bit to absorb, then giving it a swirl and taking it out. When bub is born, this swab is put in your baby’s mouth and wiped across their little body immediately, trying to emulate a vaginal birth.

If this is something that’s of interest to you, please discuss it with your midwife or obstetrician, especially if you know you’re having a caesarean for whatever reason or thinking of going down the VBAC road.

References and Articles: (to come!)

Image via janabrasilfotografia and @birthwithoutfear

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