Association of birth mode of delivery with infant faecal microbiota, potential pathobionts, and short chain fatty acids: a longitudinal study over the first year of life.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: Caesarean section (CS) interrupts mother-to-newborn microbial transfer at birth. Beyond the neonatal period, the impact of CS on offspring gut microbiota and their short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) remains unclear. Here, we examine birth delivery mode (CS versus vaginal delivery) with the infant gut microbiota and faecal SCFAs measured 3 and 12 months after birth. DESIGN: Longitudinal study. SETTING: North Carolina. POPULATION: In 2013-15, we enrolled pregnant women and followed up their offspring for 12 months. We asked a subset of participants, enrolled over a 3-month period, to provide faecal samples at the 3- and 12-month follow-up visits. METHODS AND MAIN OUTCOMES: We sequenced the 16S rRNA V4 region with Illumina MiSeq and quantified SCFA concentrations using gas chromatography. We examined delivery mode with differential abundance of microbiota amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) using beta-binomial regression and faecal SCFAs using linear regression. We adjusted models for confounders. RESULTS: Of the 70 infants in our sample, 25 (36%) were delivered by CS. Compared with vaginal delivery, CS was associated with differential abundance of 14 infant bacterial ASVs at 3 months and 13 ASVs at 12 months (all FDR P < 0.05). Of note, CS infants had a higher abundance of the potential pathobionts Clostridium neonatale (P = 0.04) and Clostridium perfringens (P = 0.04) and a lower abundance of potentially beneficial Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides spp. (both P < 0.05) at 3 months. Other ASVs were differentially abundant at 12 months. Infants delivered by CS also had higher faecal butyrate concentration at 3 months (P < 0.005) but not at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: Caesarean section was associated with increased butyrate excretion, decreased Bifidobacterium and Bacteroides spp., and more colonisation of the infant gut by pathobionts at 3 months of age. CS was also associated with altered gut microbiota composition, but not faecal SCFAs, at 12 months. TWEETABLE ABSTRACT: Caesarean section delivery was associated with increased butyrate excretion, decreased Bifidobacterium, and increased colonisation of the infant gut by pathobionts at 3 months of age.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mueller, NT; Differding, MK; Østbye, T; Hoyo, C; Benjamin-Neelon, SE

Published Date

  • July 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 128 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1293 - 1303

PubMed ID

  • 33338292

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8211907

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-0528

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/1471-0528.16633


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England