The Microbiome Effect: How Your Baby's Birth Affects Their Future Health

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At least two amazing events happen during childbirth. There's the obvious main event, which is the emergence of a new human into the world. But then there's the non-human event that is taking place simultaneously, a crucial event that is not visible to the naked eye, an event that could determine the lifelong health of the baby. This is the seeding of the baby's microbiome, the community of 'good' bacteria that we carry with us throughout our lives.

The seeding of the microbiome, along with other processes including breastfeeding, kick-starts the baby's immune system and helps to protect the infant from disease for its entire lifetime. However, with interventions like use of synthetic Oxycontin, antibiotics, C-section and formula feeding, this microbial transfer from the mother to baby is interfered with or bypassed completely. Emerging research shows that bacteria are absolutely vital for human health, and imbalances in the human microbiome significantly contribute to chronic non-transmissible diseases.

Drawing on the extensive research they carried out for their documentary film Microbirth, authors Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford reveal a fascinating new view of birth, and how microscopic happenings can have lifelong consequences, both for ourselves, our children - and our species as a whole.

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