The Microbiome and Your Baby’s Immune System, with Toni Harman

How your baby is born will determine what microorganisms get where, when. It’s a beautifully-orchestrated process with lifelong implications for your baby’s health. So what if you have a Cesarean birth, take antibiotics, or are not able to feed human milk? Toni Harman tells us more. Check it out!


To listen here, click the play button on the player above, or click the button below to listen in iTunes.

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What we talked about:

  • What is the microbiome?
  • Understanding the “seed-and-feed” process
  • Changes in the vaginal microbiome during the 3rd trimester
  • Why it’s actually amazingly good for you to poop during pushing
  • Why sequence of arrival matters
  • How the microbiome trains the infant’s immune system
  • The increased risk of certain diseases later in life for Cesarean born babies
  • Elective vs. emergency Cesareans
  • Labor’s apparent effect on epigenetics
  • The issues with Cesarean births
  • The issues with antibiotics and being GBS+
  • Effects of breastfeeding in getting things relatively back on track
  • Living a microbiome-friendly life


Additional fabulous resources and articles:


Related Birthful episodes:



Toni Harman headshot

Courtesy of Toni Harman

About Toni Harman

Toni Harman is a documentary filmmaker turned author. Toni has spent the past 20 years producing and directing films including the documentaries DOULA!, FREEDOM FOR BIRTH and the multi-award winning documentary MICROBIRTH. Her extensive research for MICROBIRTH ignited a passion for the microbiome resulting in Toni co-authoring YOUR BABY’S MICROBIOME with her partner Alex Wakeford.

Find out more at






Title music:Vibe Aceby Kevin MacLeod, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

Sponsorship music:Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, from the Free Music Archive / CC BY (edited for length).

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