Home-birthed babies come into contact with better gut microbiomes quicker than infants born in a ‘hyper clean’ hospital environment, a new study has found.
This beneficial bacteria is said to help with boosting a child’s immune system.
Study finds infants born at home are exposed to beneficial bacteria
It’s only been in the last few decades that humans have been opting to have their children in hospitals as opposed to home.
Research from New York University, the University of California, San Francisco and Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea, has compared the different kinds of bacteria found in the gut of both those born at home and in the hospital.
Experts found that babies born at hospital have different gut microbiomes, which helps boost the immune system and helps improve digestive function, compared to those born at home.
The cleanliness of the hospital may reduce the amount of bacteria a newborn comes into contact with.
The study found that of over 1,000 babies born in different environments, those who were born full term, vaginally at home and were breastfed came into contact with the most amount of microbiomes – from mum’s skin and vagina as well as their environment after birth.
Further research is needed to be done to understand the implications, say researchers.
Many women opt for a hospital birth over a home birth due to any possible risks to mum and bub. Choosing how you want to give birth is your choice and there are many options to consider.
Home-births deemed safe but there are prerequisites
A study by the Hudson Institute of medical research found that having a home-birth was just as safe as having a hospital birth!
However, ONLY in women with low-risk pregnancies.
A 2015 study revealed that Australia has the third lowest rate of planned home-births among a group of developed nations at 0.4%!
When it came to high-risk pregnancies, including women who’ve had a previous c-section, the study revealed the rate of stillbirth or neonatal death was up to SEVEN times higher during home-birth.
Experts looked at data on all babies born in Victoria at 37 weeks plus, between 2000 and 2015.
This research found that for healthy women who have had a healthy pregnancy, home-birth was linked to LOWER rates of intervention, like unplanned c-sections, epidural and episiotomy than similar women who gave birth in a hospital.
Lead researcher and epidemiologist at Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Dr Miranda Davies-Tuck said: “In women with normal pregnancies, there were no differences in the rates of perinatal death between those who planned a home-birth and hospital birth.”
But for those with pregnancy complications, the study found having their baby in a hospital is significantly safer.
When making choices around the planned place of birth you should always talk and discuss with your GP, obstetrician or registered midwife and come up with the safest choice for you and your baby.
What is a high risk pregnancy?
A high risk pregnancy means you’ll need extra care to help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Some factors include:
- Blood disorders
- Chronic kidney disease
- Maternal age
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- If you’re pregnant with twins or more
- Prior caesarean
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