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NEW mothers could be putting their babies at risk of serious infection by following a trend called “seeding”, experts have warned.
Doctors said demand for the practice – also known as microbirthing – is rising in UK hospitals but there is no proven benefit for newborn babies.
When babies are born naturally they are exposed to a range of beneficial bacteria while moving down the birth canal.
But babies who are born by Caesarean section are not exposed to this bacteria.
With seeding – which apparently started in Australia but is now growing in popularity in the UK – mothers are requesting that their babies are covered in vaginal fluid immediately after a Caesarean birth via a swab.
The swab of fluid is applied to the baby’s mouth, face and body.
Parents hope the exposure to bacteria will boost their baby’s immune system, thereby preventing illness and disease in the future, such as asthma and allergies.
But experts writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have warned that new mothers could be putting their babies at risk of harm, including from group B strep (GBS), which is a serious infection that can lead to death.