Bacteria from a mother's mouth can be transmitted through the blood and amniotic fluid in the womb to her unborn child. This could contribute to the risk of a premature delivery, a low birth-weight baby, premature onset of contractions, or infection of the newborn child.Bacteria cells outnumber our human cells 10 to 1 and yet we still know very little as to what they are and how they are acquired. Fascinating how bacteria from a mother's mouth can get into the her blood stream and then into the womb. While this article focuses on the detrimental aspects of the bacteria, I am more curious about their symbiotic brethren which hopefully we will understand better when the Human Microbe Project is complete.
Ms Cecilia Gonzales-Marin and colleagues from Queen Mary University of London, described how they had tested the gastric aspirates (stomach contents containing swallowed amniotic fluid) of 57 newborn babies and found 46 different species of bacteria in the samples.
The most prevalent bacteria in the samples may have come from the vagina; however, two of the species were recognised as coming from the mouth and are not normally found elsewhere in the body. These particular bacteria, Granulicatella elegans and Streptococcus sinensis, are known to be able to enter the bloodstream and have previously been associated with infections remote from the mouth such as infective endocarditis.
"Our studies show that sampling the stomach contents of newborn babies by using gastric aspirates can provide a reliable method of microbial identification. Hospitals routinely take these samples as part of the care of the babies born from a complicated pregnancy and/or at risk of serious infection. They provide a more accessible alternative to amniotic fluid," said Ms Gonzales-Marin, "Our research group is using DNA techniques to confirm if bacteria from the newborn matches the bacteria in the respective mother's mouth".