I know that regular readers will be a little sick of hearing this, but at some point medicine needs to understand the dangers of antibiotics.
It seems that the tide is turning, but few still understand just how massively broad-reaching the effects of the bacterial flora of the human body are. And antibiotics just absolutely destroy the normal bacterial composition of the human body. And IF it recovers, it can take years to happen.
I won’t go into all the research linking good bacteria to positive health and bad bacterial balance to just about every chronic disease known to man—all of that can be found by reading through past articles that can be found by clicking HERE.
A healthy pregnancy, in today’s environment, is a deliberate act and does not happen naturally. Which sounds kind of crazy, considering that pregnancy is one of the absolute requirements for the perpetuation of our species. But there are just too many factors in today’s lifestyle that are not conducive to a healthy, full term pregnancy. From ubiquitous chemicals like BPA and phthalates to poor fertility leading to artificial reproduction attempts, it seems like our world has turned against our ability to reproduce safely.
It is very clear that those children born premature as well as those children born to couples who conceived through artificial means are behind the 8-ball health-wise. These children are at higher risk of things like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. For this reason, anything that can be done to make sure that mom makes it to full-term is a very good thing.
Which makes this particular article so incredibly important. In it, researchers looked at the vaginal microbiota composition as from 40 women during pregnancy and for up to 12 months after delivery. Of this group, 11 women gave birth prematurely. Here’s what they found:
- 62% of samples from women who delivered preterm had Lactobacillus-poor vaginal microbiota.
- One-third of women with this low-Lactobacillus vaginal composition delivered very preterm infants born at fewer than 32 weeks of gestation.
- On the other hand, 3/4 of women who carried pregnancy to term had Lactobacillus-dominant vaginal microbiota.
- In addition, in women who had high levels of vaginal Gardnerella, a bacteria that can cause bacterial vaginitis, had even worse outcomes when they were Lactobacillus-poor.
While the authors state that this is not enough research to go around making sweeping recommendations to pregnant women to begin douching with Lactobacillus prior to becoming pregnant, I would disagree.
Quite frankly, the results of this study are not surprising given prior research along these lines coupled with how much we know about how the bacterial flora in our bodies drive immune function and inflammation.
What this should wake us all up to (if any of us still happened to be sleeping through the ruckus) is just how far-reaching the devastation of antibiotics can go. It’s not just about getting a day or so of diarrhea after a course of amoxicillin. Rather, it’s about a lifetime of disrupting the balance between inflammation and the proper functioning of your immune system.