Flora Given by Mothers - 1

Flora Given by Mothers - 1

Nature expects that a newborn should be held in his mother's arms as long as possible at the possible earliest time. "Holding a baby in one's arms" is the prototype of childrearing and essential to establish a mother-and-child bond or relationship, which leads to the survival of a newborn child. Its importance is also emphasized in the United States where they call the act as "hug" or "touch."

Mothers Are Contaminated, But ...

In modern medical science, however, there are cases that newborns are transferred to a clean neonatal room right after delivery for bacteriological considerations. Now doctors are thinking it over because they are deeply concerned about the formation of mother-and-child relationship in the postnatal phase. From the strictly bacteriological point of view, mothers are surely "contaminated." There are various types of bacteria on the mother's skin, mouth, nasal and oral cavities, upper airway1 and birth canal2, although most of them do not directly cause diseases. And these bacteria help the mother's life as a human being. This group of bacteria is called "flora"3.

The flora has an important physiological function for the survival of human beings. Flora in intestines, large intestines in particular, consists of lactobacillus bifidus4, E. coli5, enterococcus6, lactic acid bacillus7, bacteroides8 and so on and that helps digestive and absorptive functions. It also plays an important role to synthesize vitamin B, vitamin K, substances similar to antibodies and hormones. Animals brought up in an experimental, germ-free environment without flora are not able to survive.

Newborns receive flora-comprising bacteria from their mothers and other people involved in the process of childbirth during and right after delivery. Because of this, nature protects babies in many ways; through placenta before delivery and through colostrum after delivery with mothers giving immune antibodies to newborns.

1: Upper airway
An airway consists of nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs; it comprises upper and lower airways and an upper airway includes nasal cavity and pharynx.

2: Birth canal
A pelvis is called bony birth canal obstetrically while a lower uterine segment, cervical canal, vagina and perineum are called soft birth canal and they form a passage of a fetus.

3: Flora
Bacteria that are distributed and grow in certain parts of a body.

4: Lactobacillus bifidus
A rod-shaped gram-positive bacillus (0.5 ~ 0.7 x 4 µ) that does not have flagellums and spores. It is an obligate anaerobe and has a strong appetite for nutrition; it does not grow in a culture medium with no sugar. It degenerates sugar and generates lactic acid; one of the non-pathogenic bacteria that are always present in intestines of breast-fed infants.

5: E. coli
A gram-negative bacillus and 0.5 x 1.0 ~ 3.0 µ in size. Many of them have peritrichous flagellums and move around. Most of them are non-pathogenic but pathogenic E. coli generate thermolabile and thermoduric enterotoxin, causing diarrhea and urinary tract infection of infants.

6: Enterococcus
A streptococcus always present in digestive tracts. It is non-pathogenic but in a very few cases it causes subacute endocarditis and food poisoning. It has resistance against fever and antibiotics.

7: Lactic acid bacillus
A gram-positive bacillus whose size is 0.6 x 2 ~ 8 µ; many of them do not show mobility. It is anaerobic, ferments glucose and generates much lactic acid. It is used for production of yogurt, cheese and lactic acid drinks and always present in intestines.

8: Bacteriudes
A group of anaerobic gram-negative bacteria and does not make spores. It is present in airways and digestive tracts. Normally it shows no pathogenicity but sometimes causes local inflammation or even septicemia.

Kobayashi, Noboru (1981). "Hahaoya Kara Moratta Flora - 1"
(written in Japanese). Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved May 8, 2005, from the World Wide Web
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