Nutrition during pregnancy plays an important role in maternal-neonatal health. However, the impact of specific dietary components during pregnancy on maternal gut microbiota and the potential effects on neonatal microbiota and infant health outcomes in the short term are still limited. A total of 86 mother-neonate pairs were enrolled in this study. Gut microbiota profiling on maternal-neonatal stool samples at birth was carried out by 16S rRNA gene sequencing using Illumina. Maternal dietary information and maternal-neonatal clinical and anthropometric data were recorded during the first 18 months. Longitudinal Body Mass Index (BMI) and Weight-For-Length (WFL) z-score trajectories using the World Health Organization (WHO) curves were obtained. The maternal microbiota was grouped into two distinct microbial clusters characterized by Prevotella (Cluster I) and by the Ruminococcus genus (Cluster II). Higher intakes of total dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyphenols were observed in Cluster II compared to Cluster I. Higher intakes of plant-derived components were associated with a higher presence of the Christensellaceae family, Dehalobacterium and Eubacterium, and lower amounts of the Dialister and Campylobacter species. Maternal microbial clusters were also linked to neonatal microbiota and infant growth in a birth-dependent manner. C-section neonates from Cluster I showed the highest BMI z-score at age 18 months, along with a higher risk of overweight. Longitudinal BMI and WL z-score trajectories from birth to 18 months were shaped by maternal microbial cluster, diet, and birth mode. Diet was an important perinatal factor in early life that may impact maternal microbiota; in particular, fiber, lipids and proteins, and exert a significant effect on the neonatal microbiome and contribute to infant development during the first months of life.Abbreviations: NCDs: Non-Communicable Diseases, C-section: Cesarean Section, BMI: Body Mass Index; WL: Weight for length; EPA: Eicosapentanoic Acid; DHA: Docosahexaenoic Acid; DPA: Docosapentaenoic Acid; SCFA: Short Chain Fatty Acids; MD: Mediterranean Diet; FFQ: Food Frequency Questionnaire; CHI: Calinski Harabasz Index.
Keywords: Maternal nutrition; early colonization; microbiota; obesity; pregnancy.
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