Early Life Nutrition and Microbiome Development
Certain critical factors such as mode of delivery, dietary input and microbial exposures contribute to the successive steps in the colonization of the microbiota in infants. Erika Isolauri notes that the pattern of colonization is slow and more pronounced and persistent in breastfed infants compared to those fed formula.
She outlines research that confirms a change in thinking about the pre-natal period, when the human gut colonization may be initiated in utero by distinct microbial communities in the placenta and amniotic fluid. She looks at the risks associated with maternal obesity, and points to recent WHO figures announcing two out of three pregnant women globally are clinically obese.
Birth by caesarian section and the use of antibiotics in early infancy increase the risk of obesity and other non-communicable diseases in later life. Recent research comparing outcomes for babies born via C-section and vaginally are examined, linking the results to the microbiome make-up.