It’s all about bacteria and your new baby.
Babies come to the world through many varied routes: vaginal births, c-sections and fast-flying storks, among some of them.
All kidding aside, it’s a fact that not all infants are born the natural way. And this is fine.
Being a C-section baby, however, does come with the possibility of harboring some invisible differences. Medical research has shown that c-section babies can have vastly different gut bacteria compared with those who are born via vaginal births, at least in their first few days. They are also more likely to have high levels of so-called “hospital bugs” such as Klebsiella and Pseudomonas in their systems.
Some women have tried to fix these inequalities on their own. One approach that’s been used is called vaginal seeding. It sounds like the perfect way to get pregnant, but actually it’s something entirely different. Get ready for it.
Vaginal seeding, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is “the practice of using cotton gauze or a cotton swab to transfer vaginal fluids to the mouth, nose or skin of a newborn. The purpose is to transfer a mother’s vaginal bacteria to her baby.”
Why would anyone do this? It may sound surprising but the practice is supposed to establish “good” bacteria in the infant’s gut. In doing so, it could help protect your child from developing things like eczema, hay fever and asthma.
But there are obvious drawbacks. It may not be a surprise to learn that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists currently doesn’t recommend that new mothers practice vaginal seeding on their infants. The practice could be a of benefit, but it could also cause your child to fall sick with something like group B streptococcus, herpes, chlamydia or gonorrhea. Yuck.
As with any medical practice, do your own research. Talk with your doctor and establish the best course of action for your circumstances.