June 14, 2019
It has long been believed that the womb is a sterile environment, in which new life grows without the presence of germs. In recent years, however, this assumption was challenged by a handful of studies that detected microbes in placenta, amniotic fluid, and meconium samples.
A team of researchers from Edith Cowan University and the University of Western Australia set about conducting the most thorough investigation to date, to ensure any microbes detected were not the result of sample contamination.
The researchers took every precaution to ensure their materials were as sterile as possible, before taking samples of amniotic fluid from 43 women who delivered by cesarean section. Sterile equipment was also used to collect samples of meconium from the volunteers’ newborn babies.
These samples were then tested for bacterial DNA, which was found in almost all of the samples. Given that there was no sign of infection in any of the 43 volunteers or their newborns, it seems very likely this bacteria represents a healthy process. If true, this suggests the body of a baby is colonized long before it is delivered, as has been traditionally believed. Additional studies will be required to confirm if the bacterial DNA found in the samples indicate a living microbiome.
Source: Science Alert
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