The way you're born can affect your immune system for your entire life. Babies born via cesarean section miss out on a vital dose of microbes from their mother, one that can help shape their immune system for the rest of their lives. However, swabbing the infant with fluids from the mother's birth canal can introduce the baby to these important microbes that can influence human health, one new study finds.
A little background: At least half the cells in our bodies are microbes, or even a bit more for a ratio of 1.3:1. That's a big number. And when it comes to early life, microbiota is especially important. We get one of our earliest doses from our mothers during the birth process. As a result, children born via c-section miss out on this critical, early exposure, only getting a fraction of the microbes that vaginally born infants receive.