My last article explained how a mother’s gut bacteria is transported into the sterile amniotic fluid to begin educating a fetus’ immune system and that the birth process completes the primary inoculation. You can read this article by clicking here. It’s important to know the difference between a natural vaginal birth, a vaginal birth with antibiotics and a C-section and this is covered in that article.
The process of in utero seeding and a vaginal bacteria wash during birth constitutes are early elementary education. You can think of these two steps as kindergarten and elementary school.
During this time bacteria enter the baby’s body and teach the immune system to speak, do arithmetic, read and write. Essentially mom’s lifestyle before and during her pregnancy and the type of delivery the baby experiences provide the framework by which a baby’s immune system will be educated. The analogy is learning is aided or hindered by the environment. A calm, peaceful, supportive setting allows the immune system to focus on its primary responsibility to protect the host and a turbulent, toxic, inflammatory one fosters an immune system that has to fight itself to find its way.
The Time Magazine article shows how families and genetic lineages are like dominoes. What happens before us, even way before us, changes us. I will write more on this in a later post. The good news is the domino that is you and the dominoes that come after you can fall in a different way than the ones before you.
So what happens between the sterile, blank slate amniotic milieu and adulthood? Look at the picture below from the National Institutes of Health revealing the diversity and locations of bacteria that live in and on us when we are adults. A baby is introduced into this world with only a few “mommy gut” bacteria and is mostly human. Over time the baby becomes only 1/10th human and carries 39 trillion bacteria.
Now you may say that the bacteria are just riders on us and have nothing to do with our immune system or DNA expression. You may think of yourself as one of those trains in India with people hanging out of every window, on the roof, standing between the railcars and occupying every seat. My response is nothing in this world happens without a give and take. God, evolution or aliens put these bacteria there for a reason.
The next article will cover why these bacteria are on and in you, or rather I will discuss how you have your own personal Dr. Seuss’ Whoville living in you.