Vaginal seeding refers to the practice of inoculating a cotton gauze or a cotton swab with vaginal fluids to transfer the vaginal flora to the mouth, nose, or skin of a newborn infant. The intended purpose of vaginal seeding is to transfer maternal vaginal bacteria to the newborn. As the increase in the frequency of asthma, atopic disease, and immune disorders mirrors the increase in the rate of cesarean delivery, the theory of vaginal seeding is to allow for proper colonization of the fetal gut and, therefore, reduce the subsequent risk of asthma, atopic disease, and immune disorders. At this time, vaginal seeding should not be performed outside the context of an institutional review board-approved research protocol until adequate data regarding the safety and benefit of the process become available.
For a comprehensive overview of these recommendations, the full-text version of this Committee Opinion is available athttp://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002402.
Committee on Obstetric Practice:This Committee Opinion was developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Obstetric Practice in collaboration with Kurt R. Wharton, MD, and Meredith L. Birsner, MD.
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Official Citation: Vaginal seeding. Committee Opinion No. 725. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2017:130:e274–8.