Presentation Information

Penny Simkin

Maternity Care Practices and their Impact on the Microbiome

  • Speaker: Penny Simkin , PT, BA
  • Presentation Type:
  • Duration: 60 Mins
  • Credits: 1.25 CERP, 1 ACM CPD, .1 Midwifery CEU, 1.25 Dietetic CEU

The human microbiome consists of trillions of microbes – bacteria and viruses—the balance of which largely determines our health and well-being throughout life. The largest microbiomes in women are located in the mouth the gut, the uterus, the vagina, and the skin. Breastmilk also provides a vital microbiome for the infant. Each microbiome contains different mixes of microbes, which fluctuate as the environment, within and outside the body, fluctuates.

Midwifery care practices have always fostered mother-baby contact, minimal separation, and breastfeeding. However, with increasing knowledge about the microbiome, midwives need to re-examine common practices for how they impact the microbiome, for example: the high cesarean rates, even among midwives, even brief separation from mother, frequent use of antibiotics, the impact of immersion in water on the mother’s skin microbiome and on the transfer of vaginal secretions to the baby in a water birth. Application of the new knowledge will further improve long-term outcomes.