c-section delivery

Recently, there were some news in the C-section delivery territory, related to what has been referred to as ‘vaginal seeding’.

And what is vaginal seeding exactly? Well, it consists on smearing babies with vaginal bacteria, that is, vaginal fluid, during the C-section delivery.

That may sound weird, but according to the Researches at the UCSD School of Medicine and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, this helped make the microbiome of the baby born with a C-section delivery more similar to that of a baby born vaginally, and thus avoid some of the consequences that babies can face when not being protected by the bacteria present in the birth canal. 

Antonio Gonzalez Pena, co-author of the study, told the following to UCSD Guardian:

Epidemiological studies have reported associations between C-section delivery and an increased risk of obesity, asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies. Thus, the question was: can we restore the vaginal community in C-section-delivered babies?

The study was successful and the practice has gained a quick popularity in order to avoid some of the possible disadvantages of a baby being born by C-section: Vaginal seeding has become the new birthing trend.

And what is vaginal seeding exactly? Well, it consists in transferring the mother’s vaginal fluid to the body of the newborn baby immediately after he’s been born by C-section delivery, specifically, to the mouth, nose and anus. As gross as it sounds, the aim is for the baby to be as covered in vaginal fluid as he would be had he been born naturally, according to the experts who designed the study.


Vaginal seeding in C-section delivery: The other news

However, more C-section news were to come, and those weren’t so positive for the new trend. Many specialists started speaking up against the new practice for C-section delivery, stating that the evidence wasn’t strong enough to guarantee it as a safe procedure.

Experts in infectious disease have raised alarm about the spreading of diseases like genital herpes, gonorrhoea or neonatal herpes, since this practice could also spread dangerous bacteria, like streptococcus B.

Aubrey Cunnington, doctor in the Imperial College London, wrote an editorial in the British Medical Journal, after the news about vaginal seeding in C-section delivery were reported in the press, and more and more future mummies were asking doctors to carry out the ‘procedure’. He wrote the following: 

The theory is that by transferring bacteria from mum to baby, these bacteria can then make their way to the baby’s gut and alter the bacteria in their tummy – called the microbiome. There is now quite a lot of evidence that differences in the microbiome are associated with risk of developing conditions such as allergies and obesity. However, people have made a leap of logic that gut bacteria must be the link between caesarean section and risk of these diseases. But we just don’t know this for sure – or when we can even influence this by transferring bacteria on a swab from mum to baby.

So, should future mummies attempt vaginal seeding in a C-section delivery? Many who were about to jump into this trend may want to rethink it now, since it seems to have raised controversy among experts.

Due to the popularity vaginal seeding in C-section delivery has gained only after the publication of a study, it’s possible that experts decide to put further effort in this theory, so they can determine if it is really a good thing, or if it entails too much risks for the little one. In the meantime, let’s not forget that a baby delivered by C-section may have greater risks of suffering allergies or obesity, but that it is still a safe procedure that delivers perfectly healthy baby. If our little one is born by a caesarean section, we can also count on our breast milk to strengthen his health – although it probably won’t need any strengthening as it is!