The potential benefits of vaginal seeding do not outweigh the risks, according to new research published today (23 August).
Vaginal seeding is the practice of exposing babies born by CS to their mother’s vaginal fluids and the bacteria that may help to build their immunity against some chronic conditions, such as asthma and allergies.
It involves taking a swab of vaginal fluid and applying it to the baby’s eyes, face and skin after birth.
Recent reports indicate this is a growing trend, but a group of doctors from the Danish Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology say other factors, such as early skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding and diet, seem more important in the development of the infant’s colony of bacteria.
They analysed the only existing vaginal seeding study, from which no safety conclusions can be made, as only four babies were involved.
However, they state that the study did highlight the difficulty in determining healthy vaginal bacteria and the risk of passing on infections, such as HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, Group B streptococci and Escherichia coli, from the mother to the baby.
They concluded that vaginal seeding should not be recommended by healthcare professionals, as the risks are still unknown.
Instead, they encourage healthcare professionals to focus on factors that are known to have a positive impact on the colonisation of a baby’s gastrointestinal bacteria.
The research has been published in in BJOG. Click here for more information.