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.
The 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 Translational Medicine.