The method by which a baby was delivered is associated with how its immune system will respond to two key childhood vaccines, research suggests.
Babies born naturally were found to have higher antibody levels, compared with those born via Caesarian section after receiving their jabs that protect against bacteria that cause lung infections and meningitis.
Experts say the findings could help to inform conversations about C-sections between expectant mothers and their doctors, and shape the design of more tailored vaccination programmes.
Researchers studied the relationship between gut microbes and antibody levels after vaccination in a cohort of 120 babies, who were vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks against lung infections and meningitis.
The researchers tracked the development of the gut microbiome — the community of microbes that lives in our body — in the child’s first year of life and their immune response to the vaccines by testing saliva samples at 12 and 18 months.
Research was carried out by a team from the University of Edinburgh, Spaarne Hospital and University Medical Centre in Utrecht and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in The Netherlands.
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