The mode of delivery influences the colostrum microbiota


It is known that the mode of delivery (vaginal / caesarean section) influences the composition of the intestinal microbiota in the newborn. A new study indicates that it also affects the microbiological composition of the colostrum.


The microbiota of the colostrum contains over 200 different species of bacteria. An Italian team tried to determine if there is a difference between the colostrum of women who gave birth vaginally (VB) compared to that of women who gave birth by C-section (CS).

The researchers studied the composition of the colostrum of 29 women (15 VB and 14 CS). Each type of colostrum (VB or CS) had a large number of anaerobic bacteria. The microbiota of the ”CS” colostrum had more bacteria of environmental origin, which is explained by the more significant exposure of these women to environmental bacteria during a C-section birth. Another observed difference was that the microbiota of “VB” colostrum was higher in Streptococcus and Haemophilus (49% and 94% higher, respectively) while the microbiota of the “CS” colostrum was higher in Pseudomonas spp. and Prevotella spp. (69% and 74% higher, respectively). Finally, the bacterial network (connections and interactions between different bacterial phyla) was more extensive in the colostrum of women who gave birth vaginally than that of women who had a C-section.

These preliminary observations require additional studies to interpret the biological/clinical meaning of these microbiological differences.


Toascana M. et al. Impact of delivery mode on the colostrum microbiota composition. BMC Microbiol. 2017 Sept ;17(1) :205.