Do we get our gut bacteria microbiome before or after birth? © Getty Images

Do we get our gut bacteria microbiome before or after birth?

We strongly advise not reading this before lunch.

We each have trillions of bacteria living in our gut and this microbiome plays important roles in digestion and fighting disease. Their origins have long been debated, but two large-scale studies in 2019 offered some answers.

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In one, researchers retrieved more than 500 placentas from women shortly after giving birth, and found the healthy placentas were sterile. Another study reported that babies delivered by caesarean lack certain strains of beneficial bacteria. Taken together, the research indicates we pick up our microbiome during and shortly after birth.

Asked by: Michael Chandler, Hereford

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