Factors shaping maternal gut microbiome during pregnancy and the impact on infant health


In an article printed within the journal Current Opinion in Microbiology, scientists have offered an in depth overview of the elements affecting maternal intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant and its affect on maternal and toddler well being.

Research: The maternal gut microbiome during pregnancy and its role in maternal and infant health. Picture Credit score: Design_Cells / Shutterstock


Being pregnant is related to a variety of hormonal, immunological, and metabolic adjustments wanted for fetal growth. Probably the most notable adjustments embrace elevated cardiac output, larger ranges of T regulatory cells, and alteration in intestine microbiome composition.

Alteration in intestine microbiota composition and variety is related to adjustments in girls’s metabolic, immunological, and neurological processes, regardless of being pregnant standing. As well as, adjustments in intestine microbiota composition are recognized to have an effect on insulin sensitivity. In kids with sort 1 diabetes, practical and metabolic adjustments in intestine microbiota have been documented.

Alteration in intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant

Solely restricted proof is offered to totally perceive the adjustments in intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant and its affect on maternal and fetal well being. Nonetheless, in response to the out there literature, low-grade irritation on the intestinal mucosa in addition to hormonal adjustments, could be answerable for intestine microbiota alteration throughout being pregnant.

Relating to hormonal adjustments, pregnancy-related induction in progesterone ranges is thought to immediately affiliate with elevated Bifidobacterium ranges in girls. Bifidobacterium is a helpful bacterium that naturally resides within the gut. Due to this fact, the gut-to-gut transmission of this bacterium from the mom to the toddler is essential throughout the neonatal interval. In infants, this bacterium helps degrade human milk oligosaccharides coming from maternal milk, along with creating toddler intestine microbiota and immune system.

Components influencing maternal intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant

Grownup human intestine microbiota could be influenced by many elements, together with physique mass index (BMI), medicines, illnesses, setting, and way of life (weight loss program, bodily exercise, smoking, and consuming habits). Pre-pregnancy publicity to those elements can result in structural and practical alteration in maternal intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant.

Animal research have proven that maternal weight loss program influences maternal and toddler intestine microbiota composition earlier than and through being pregnant. Each pre-pregnancy physique weight and pregnancy-related weight achieve have been discovered to change the composition and variety of maternal intestine microbiota.

Mode of supply has been discovered to affect toddler intestine microbiota. For instance, infants delivered vaginally have been proven to realize helpful adjustments in intestine microbiota in comparison with these delivered by c-section.

Useful research in animals have proven that smoking-related nicotine publicity throughout being pregnant impacts maternal intestine microbiota, which in flip alters fetal publicity ranges to circulating short-chain fatty acids and leptin throughout in-utero growth.

Sure illnesses earlier than being pregnant, akin to inflammatory bowel illness, have been discovered to affect maternal microbiota throughout being pregnant. Equally, pre-pregnancy and during-pregnancy consumption of sure medicines, together with antibiotics, proton-pump inhibitors, metformin, laxatives, and probiotics, has been discovered to affect maternal intestine microbiota throughout being pregnant.

Maternal well being affect of altered intestine microbiota

Research have discovered maternal intestine microbiota alteration throughout being pregnant is related to being pregnant problems, together with gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.  

Gestational diabetes

A spontaneous induction in blood glucose ranges throughout being pregnant is medically termed gestational diabetes. Research have proven {that a} lowered abundance of helpful micro organism and an elevated abundance of pathogenic micro organism are answerable for the onset of gestational diabetes.

Within the microbiome of gestational diabetes sufferers, an elevated abundance of membrane transport, power metabolism, lipopolysaccharides, and phosphotransferase system pathways has been noticed. Current proof signifies that intestine microbiota-derived dopamine deficiency within the blood, impaired manufacturing of short-chain fatty acids, and extreme metabolic irritation are collectively answerable for the event of gestational diabetes.


Preeclampsia is characterised by new-onset hypertension, proteinuria, and organ dysfunction throughout being pregnant. Research involving pregnant girls with preeclampsia have discovered intestine microbiota dysbiosis (imbalance in intestine microbiota composition) and elevated plasma ranges of lipopolysaccharide and trimethylamine N-oxide.

Current proof signifies that preeclampsia onset is related to lowered bacterial variety in intestine microbiota. Particularly, the adjustments in intestine microbiota embrace a depletion in helpful micro organism and an enrichment in opportunistic micro organism.

Some mechanistic research have identified that intestine microbiota dysbiosis induces immune imbalance and intestinal barrier disruption in pregnant girls, resulting in the translocation of micro organism to the intrauterine cavity, placental irritation, and poor placentation. All these elements collectively contribute to the event of preeclampsia.

Toddler well being affect of altered intestine microbiota

Alteration in maternal intestine microbiota has been discovered to have an effect on the fetus’s neurodevelopment through signaling microbially modulated metabolites to neurons within the creating mind. These adjustments can have long-term results on an toddler’s behaviors.

Maternal microbiota-derived metabolites akin to short-chain fatty acids are recognized to form the metabolic system of infants. Some proof has additionally indicated that maternal intestine microbiota influences an toddler’s susceptibility to allergic illnesses.

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