How the Method of Birth Can Influence Lifelong Health

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STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Microorganisms in your gastrointestinal tract play an integral part in your health, affecting everything from body weight and nutrition, to chronic diseases of all kinds
  • The groundwork for your individual microbiome is laid from birth. A baby inherits the microbiome of its mother during vaginal delivery. Skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding also provide valuable microbes
  • Thorough and appropriate “seeding” of the baby at birth primes their immune system with beneficial bacteria so that it can learn to function optimally
  • Decades of inappropriate medical interventions and diet — such as overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial products, routine cesarean births, pesticides and processed food — have led to a steep loss of diversity in the human microbiome
  • Bacteria play an essential role in your metabolism and immune function. With a loss of microbial diversity, the homeostasis (balance) of your body is disrupted, rendering it more vulnerable to disease

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