Intended for healthcare professionals


“Vaginal seeding” of infants born by caesarean section

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 23 February 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i227

Re: “Vaginal seeding” of infants born by caesarean section

Thanks to the Authors for their response to our input on their article. I just wanted to clarify that when I said the February 2016 article in Nature provides in principle scientific support for vaginal seeding, I meant in terms of the primary aim of restoring microbiota which is what is thought to be lacking and not necessarily in terms of long term benefit. Of course, the infants from the study will need to be followed up to see if they derive the same benefit against allergies and autoimmune conditions similar to those who are exposed to microbiota naturally through vaginal birth.

My own opinion is like in the Editorial that the practice carries infection risks but we need to prove that the risks are indeed worse than vaginal birth before advising a blanket 'ban' and advising all staff not to do it. The warning issued through the BMJ Editorial is indeed welcome and will likely save a number of babies' lives but we need research evidence to give a balanced view on the issue. If we don't, the article in Nature could soon be posted on lots of lay websites and interpreted as in favour of the practice.

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 February 2016
Clever Banda
Consultant Paediatrician
Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland Hervey Bay Rural Clinical School
Hervey Bay Hospital, Urraween Street, Urraween, QLD 4655