Gut instinct: how the way you’re born and fed affect your immune system

We used to think foetuses had no bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract (the gut) until they began to accumulate microbes (bacteria, viruses and other bugs) on their way through their mother’s vagina. But this theory was challenged when bacteria was found in meconium (the first poo) of premature babies. This, of course, travelled through the gut, accumulating microbes on the way. What’s clear is that newborns have little (if any) diversity in their microbiota – the collection of bacteria that accumulate in the gut. This increases as they’re exposed to different environments. The particular makeup of a newborn’s gut microbes…
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