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The Postpartum Maternal and Newborn Microbiomes

Mutic, Abby D. MSN, CNM; Jordan, Sheila MPH, RN; Edwards, Sara M. MN, MPH, CNM; Ferranti, Erin P. PhD, MPH, RN, FAHA; Thul, Taylor A. BSN, RN; Yang, Irene PhD, RN

MCN, The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing: November/December 2017 - Volume 42 - Issue 6 - p 326–331
doi: 10.1097/NMC.0000000000000374
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Biological and environmental changes to maternal and newborn microbiomes in the postnatal period can affect health outcomes for the mother–baby dyad. Postpartum sleep deprivation and unmet dietary needs can alter commensal bacteria within the body and disrupt gut-brain communication. Perineal injury and breast infections also change microbial community composition, potentiating an environment favoring pathogen growth. The gut microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms working in harmony. Disruptions within the gut microbiome and gut-brain communication may lead to postpartum depression, a potentially devastating sequela. Postnatal newborn changes to the gut and skin microbiome materialize quickly after birth and are profoundly influenced by mode of birth, feeding method, and bathing and skin care practices. During the newborn period, infant microbiomes are highly vulnerable and susceptible to multiple influences. Maternal–newborn nurses have a valuable role in helping mothers and newborns promote healthy microbiomes. Factors that influence the rapidly changing postnatal microbiome of the mother and her newborn, and the role nurses have to positively influence immediate and long-term health outcomes are presented.

Biological and environmental changes to maternal and newborn microbiomes in the postnatal period can affect health outcomes for mothers and babies. Maternal-baby nurses have a valuable role in helping mothers and newborns promote healthy microbiomes. Factors that influence the rapidly changing postnatal microbiome of the mother and her newborn baby, and the role nurses have to positively influence immediate and long-term health outcomes are presented.

Abby D. Mutic is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, Doctoral Candidate, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. She can be reached via e-mail at abby.mutic@emory.edu

Sheila Jordan is Pre-Doctoral Fellow, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Sara M. Edwards is PhD Candidate, Instructor, Laney Graduate School and Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Erin P. Ferranti is an Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Taylor A. Thul is Doctoral Student, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Irene Yang is an Assistant Professor, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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