According to recent research, the amount of beneficial bacteria is higher in children born naturally. Image: file
Our immune system’s response to the vaccine also depends on how we are born, whether by vaginal delivery or by operation (C-section), according to new research from Scotland and the Netherlands.
The study found that vaginal birth or vaginal delivery produces twice as many antibodies after vaccination as babies born by operation (C-section).
Experts say this difference is caused by the immune-boosting good bacteria that build up in our bodies at birth. Although babies born by surgery also have natural immunity or protection, they may need extra doses of probiotics or vaccines than babies born with normal delivery.
The moment we are born is when we emerge from the germs of our mother’s womb into a world teeming with microscopic microbes. Microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses, and bacteria) make up our bodies and ultimately outnumber our “human” cells.
If we came to this world naturally, that is, without an operation, then the microbes that we are exposed to for the first time are present in our mother’s vagina, but if you were born through an operation or a cesarean section, then your way of entering the world becomes different, and the microbes that infect you are present on human skin or In the hospital and home air.
In a recent study, experts from the University of Adambara and the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands examined the effects of these microbes on various vaccines that are given to us after birth. For this purpose, experts studied the stool of 120 newborns from the first dark green stool (meconium) to the age of one year.
The results of the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, showed that babies born vaginally had higher levels of microbes from the Bifidobacterium and Escherichia coli genera.
In light of these findings, experts say that the high amount of these beneficial bacteria means that when these children are given the pneumococcal and meningococcal vaccine, the amount of antibodies that create immunity to the disease nearly doubles. The microbes in our bodies have previously been shown to affect flu and tuberculosis vaccines.
“The first contact between our microbes and our immune system at birth is crucial,” said Professor Debbie Bogart, Head of Paediatrics at the University of Edinburgh, of the latest research. He said the bacteria secrete different types of chemicals called fatty acids. These fatty acids tell our immune system to work.
Without these fatty acids, the body’s development of B cells, the type of cells that make up the body’s white blood cells and fight disease, stops. All children studied in this study were healthy, born premature and had no other medical conditions.
What can be done about it?
An operation or a caesarean section is often performed when it is intended to protect the health of the mother or child. Recently, there has also been a trend of “vaginal seeding”, in which the natural fluid excreted by the mother is applied to the body of the baby born via the process. Also, in another study, bacteria from the mother’s stomach were injected into the baby’s body.
The main purpose of all these experiments was to give the baby microbes that he couldn’t have due to a C-section. However, Professor Bogart says that “theoretically, giving babies microbes for a C-section like this might be the best solution, but in practice it’s a very complicated process because It could be dangerous for the baby.” That’s why Professor Bogart says it would be “safer” to give babies born by caesarean section supplements of beneficial bacteria (such as probiotics). Another solution is to give additional doses of the vaccine to C-section babies.
On the other hand, according to Professor Neil Mabbott, an expert in the immune system and associated with the University of Adambara, it cannot be said with certainty that children’s high production of antibodies is directly related to microbes. However, he said, “Recent research raises the possibility of improving the immune system of newborns, especially those born by operation, to improve the effectiveness of vaccines and protect these babies from other infections. And it can feed beneficial bacteria to protect against them.”
Commenting on the research, biologist Dr. George Sawa said: “This article is important because it will help us better understand the factors that influence vaccinations and the microbiome in infants.” However, they said the research was conducted on a relatively limited scale and more research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.