Placenta is assumed to be the most sterile environment, protecting the
unborn baby from bacteria present in the mother's body. However a new
study conducted by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston
reveal that bacteria is present in the placenta and it has an impact on
the health of the baby.
The researchers analyzed material
derived from over 320 placentas and after processing them through
shotgun metagenomic sequencing, they were able to identify a very small
but diverse community of bacteria living in the placenta.
researchers said that the bacteria were similar to those found in the
mouth, rather than in other places such as vaginal or intestinal
microbiomes. They added that the bacteria could influence the health of
the newborn baby both during the pregnancy and in early life but
admitted that more research is needed to determine how to take advantage
of their findings. The study has been published in the journal Science
"As we catch glimmers of the microbial
biology of pregnancy, we can start to see a not-too-distant future where
we will prevent preterm birth (or its complications in newborns) with
truly novel approaches aimed at enhancing the healthy microbes of not
just the vagina, but the mouth and gut. As we unravel the mysteries of
pregnancy, we are learning that our microbes may be as much friend as
foe. That is fantastic news for our moms and their babies", the
researchers wrote in their report.