Congrats to Dr. Suchitra Hourigan, PSV Gastroenterologist & Director of Microbiome Research at Inova Translational Medicine Institute, who provided her clinical expertise in a recent New York Times’ article entitled “The Importance of Infants’ Exposure to Micro-Organisms”, written by Jane Brody.
Dr. Hourigan is the principal investigator on a research study that has been approved to conduct the first randomized controlled trial of vaginal seeding for infants born by scheduled cesarean-section.
Dr. Hourigan said in the interview, “Women shouldn’t do vaginal seeding until trials show it’s safe and offers health benefits to infants. I’m worried about mothers doing this without screening and sometimes without supervision by a physician who says it’s O.K.”
Dr. Hourigan also added that, “At the moment, breast-feeding is the best and safest way to expose babies born by cesarean to their mother’s bacteria. Breast milk contains many of the same beneficial bacteria found in a woman’s vagina, and breast-feeding infants are less likely than those consuming formula to develop respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and allergies as well as chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease.”
The study will directly inform whether there are health benefits from the vaginal seeding of C-section delivered newborns and whether this practice is safe. This evidence could change the practice of obstetrics as we know it.
If interested in the study, patients can contact Dr. Hourigan’s study team by calling (703) 776 8199.