This is a recap from last month of what I learned in a webinar given by Penny Simkin, BT BA that the Gold Midwifery Online Conference offered. It was a very interesting keynote presentation from their conference, titled "Maternity Care and the Microbiome: How Birth Practices Dictate Future Health".
Over the hour and 45 minutes I was continually amazed to remember over and over again just how fearfully and wonderfully made we are!
Here's a small recap of some of the things I learned:
Right when the baby is born they pick up Microbiomes immediately that will either be helpful for their immune systems.... or not. That's why it's very important to be aware of what type of surroundings the baby is being born into-- also what are the very first things that touch the baby on it's entrance into the world. First contact is so important!!
Think about the different settings a baby could be born into and what their first contact would be. The very first thing of course would be the birth canal. As the baby enters the birth canal there are actually microbes that collect on the baby's skin. C-section babies for example miss out on these important microbes and this can effect their immune system later on.... actually I was a C-section baby and my mother tells me that as a baby I did catch viruses more easily then all of my other siblings which were V-back.
Here are some interesting thoughts surrounding a baby's first contact after birth...
1) Is the baby being born at home in a hospital setting?
2) Is the baby held first by the doctor, nurse, relative, friend... or a parent? There is even the thought that grandparents should wait to hold the baby since they are not living within the same household and therefore have different microbes.
3) Is a bath necessary right away? Giving a baby a bath right away after birth might wash away microbiomes which would be very helpful to the baby.
4) Is the baby handed to the mother directly or wrapped in a blanket for first contact? How soon does the mother get to hold her baby?
5) In a hospital setting does the baby the baby spends the night in the nursery away from it's mother who birthed it.
The area of Microbiomes is still being studied and so much about it is not even known yet! Like the question I asked during the Q&A time and was trilled that they picked to "answer it"-- What about siblings touching the baby at birth in light of the thought that grandparents do not immediately hold the baby? Penny Simkin suggested that it would be ok since siblings living in the same house as their parents would then have the same microbes on them.
I enjoyed learning from Penny Simkin and was thrilled to participate in the webinar when I heard that Gold Midwifery was offering her keynote free. May sometime I'll "go" to the entire online conference.