Seeding; after C-Section??? I Trust Nigerian women will not request for this!

I had to put a call through to other gynecologists in Nigeria, to ask them what ‘seeding’ is all about. More than 95% of them said: “they are hearing it for the first time”. I described the process as suggested by my patient to them and the least reaction from them; a female was ‘nyamakata’ A patient of mine requested for seeding after her Caesarian operation. She is U.S lady residing in Nigeria.

What is seeding?

According to webmed, is a process where the patient places gauze in her vagina for an hour then after her cesarean section and rubs the gauze in her baby’s mouth and over his body in order to help colonize the baby with healthy bacteria? The rationale behind this is that babies born vaginally have been shown to have a strong gut bacterial than babies born by cesarean section. Vaginal born babies also have lower rate of allergies, asthma and obesity than babies born through cesarean section. The truth is that this is a common and assumed knowledge as no facts and figures are backing it (Send one if you have Please)

So before we start copying this trend, Heather Rupe DO is presently working on the research. It is still unpublished and so it is subject to further investigation. Her study ‘has yet to prove that this practice increases the microbiome in a sustainable or even beneficial way. There is no proven clinical benefit of this practice yet and unfortunately has a potential for harm for the mother and the baby,” says S. Shaefer Spires, MD Epidemiologist and Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.’ The main risk is that babies could be exposed to harmful, disease-causing bacteria. “Infection is one of the top ten causes of infant deaths in the first month of life,” says Neonatal-perinatal specialist Eric Scott Palmer, MD. He warns that seeding “does not guarantee that enough ‘good’ bacteria will reach a baby’s intestines. Even worse is the chance that large amounts of deadly bacteria will.

Vaginal pathogens such as herpes simplex, HIV and group beta streptococcus (GBS) have the potential to cause fatal infections in newborns. And while there are screening tests for active infections like GBS or herpes, these tests are not 100% effective in detecting disease. There is also risk of contamination of the gauze in its route from vagina to baby. As the gauze is inserted and removed from the vagina, there could easily be fecal contamination. The significant swelling that often occurs in the vagina and rectum in pregnancy can place the two orifices very close together. It is difficult to know which pregnant women truly have healthy vaginal bacteria, and which are struggling with yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis which are extremely common in pregnancy. While yeast infection would rarely be fatal to the baby, it could lead to thrush and breastfeeding difficulties.’


Here are a few healthier options to improve baby’s microbiome:

  • Reducing your risk of C-section – Women most times think this is beyond them, but staying healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and follow the doctor’s advice can help to reduce the chances of caesarean section. Vaginal delivery is safest for mom and baby, so increase your chances by staying in shape and weight, exercise during pregnancy. Avoiding elective induction with your first pregnancy have all been shown to reduce your risk of cesarean section.
  • Early breastfeeding – This one of the best way to inoculate your baby with healthy bacteria.
  • Skin to skin during C-section – Direct placing the baby on the mom’s chest after a C-section helps with bonding, and can make the surgical birth feel more natural. It is also general knowledge that immediate skin to skin contact may improve the microbiome ( even though I don’t have proof of that, it certainly doesn’t do any harm at least)

Seeding theory has some amount of merits, but more researches still need to be done before I can recommend it to my patients. Hopefully there will be quality studies in the future that can give us useful guidelines on the efficacy and safety of the procedure


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