Breast Milk Microbiota Is Shaped by Mode of Delivery and Intrapartum Antibiotic Exposure

Front Nutr. 2019 Feb 4;6:4. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00004. eCollection 2019.


The mode of delivery has been suggested to modulate the bacterial composition of breast milk but the impact of intrapartum antibiotic use on the milk microbiota is currently not known. The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of the mode of the delivery and intrapartum antibiotic administration on the microbial composition of breast milk. Breast milk samples were collected from 84 healthy mothers 1 month after the delivery. In total, 61 mothers had delivered vaginally, 23 of which had received intrapartum antibiotics, 13 women had delivered with non-elective cesarean section, 7 of which had received antibiotics, and 10 mothers had delivered with elective cesarean section without intrapartum antibiotic treatment. Both mode of delivery and intrapartum antibiotic exposure were significantly associated with changes in the milk microbial composition as assessed by analysis of similarities (ANOSIM) test (p = 0.001). The mode of delivery had a more profound effect on the milk microbiota composition as compared to intrapartum antibiotic exposure. Although the clinical significance of breast milk microbiota is currently poorly understood, this study shows that cesarean section delivery has an independent effect on breast milk microbiota composition. The dysbiosis observed in infants born by cesarean section delivery may be aggravated by the aberrant breast milk microbiota.

Keywords: breast milk; cesarean section; intrapartum antibiotics; microbiota composition; non-communicable diseases.