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The Maternal Gut Microbiome During Pregnancy

Edwards, Sara M. MN, MPH, CNM; Cunningham, Solveig A. PhD; Dunlop, Anne L. MD, MPH, FAAFP; Corwin, Elizabeth J. PhD, RN, FAAN

MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing: November/December 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 6 - p 310–317
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000372
Feature: CE Connection

Abstract: The gut microbiome is a critical component of an individual's metabolism and overall health. The prenatal period is marked by unique inflammatory and immune changes that alter maternal gut function and bacterial composition as the pregnancy advances. The composition of the maternal gut microbiome contributes to obstetric outcomes with long-term health sequelae for mother and child. Estrogen and progesterone also have an impact on gut function, especially during the prenatal period. These physiologic changes in pregnancy allow for adjustments in maternal metabolism and weight necessary to support the pregnancy. Normal hormonal, metabolic, and immunologic changes to the maternal gut microbiome throughout the prenatal period are reviewed, including relevant implications for nurses providing care for pregnant women.

The prenatal period is marked by unique inflammatory and immune changes that alter maternal gut function and bacterial composition as pregnancy advances. Normal hormonal, metabolic and immunologic changes to the maternal gut microbiome throughout the prenatal period are reviewed, including relevant implications for nurses providing care for pregnant women.

Sara M. Edwards is a PhD Candidate, Instructor, Laney Graduate School and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She can be reached via e-mail at sedwar2@emory.edu

Solveig A. Cunningham is an Assistant Professor, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Anne L. Dunlop is an Associate Research Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Elizabeth J. Corwin is a Professor, Associate Dean for Research, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For 4 additional continuing nursing education activities on the topic of the microbiome, go to nursingcenter.com/ce.

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