Effects of vaginal microbiota transfer on the neurodevelopment and microbiome of cesarean-born infants: A blinded randomized controlled trial

The microbiomes of cesarean-born infants differ from vaginally delivered infants and are associated with increased disease risks. Vaginal microbiota transfer (VMT) to newborns may reverse C-section-related microbiome disturbances. Here, we evaluated the effect of VMT by exposing newborns to maternal vaginal fluids and assessing neurodevelopment, as well as the fecal microbiota and metabolome. Sixty-eight cesarean-delivered infants were randomly assigned a VMT or saline gauze intervention immediately after delivery in a triple-blind manner (ChiCTR2000031326).

Adverse events were not significantly different between the two groups. Infant neurodevelopment, as measured by the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) score at 6 months, was significantly higher with VMT than saline. VMT significantly accelerated gut microbiota maturation and regulated levels of certain fecal metabolites and metabolic functions, including carbohydrate, energy, and amino acid metabolisms, within 42 days after birth.

Overall, VMT is likely safe and may partially normalize neurodevelopment and the fecal microbiome in cesarean-delivered infants.

Published: 15 Jun 2023
For more information: Cell Host & Microbe; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chom.2023.05.022