The U.S.’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists is warning against a new trend where babies born by C-section are “seeded” via cotton swabs with vaginal microbes from the mother.”Vaginal seeding” is growing in popularity because it’s thought that babies born through Cesarean-section miss out on certain “helpful” vaginal microbes that might shield the infant from asthma, allergies and immune disorders.
“Vaginal seeding has become a rising trend for patients,” noted Dr. Jennifer Wu, an ob/gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “Patients read about the benefits of a vaginal delivery and hope to replicate these benefits with vaginal seeding.”
As explained by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it’s thought that contact with healthy vaginal bacteria helps stimulate the infant immune system, prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria and regulates the gut.
That contact doesn’t happen for babies born via C-section, however, so in vaginal seeding, a cotton swab with vaginal fluids from the mother is used to transfer vaginal bacteria to a newborn.
But in a statement issued Oct. 24, ACOG — the nation’s largest ob/gyn organization — said the procedure is not recommended because the known risks outweigh any potential benefits.
“Due to the lack of sufficient data, the very real risks