The Microbiome and Your Baby’s Immune System

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!


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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 concerns with cesarean births
  • The issues with antibiotics and being GBS+
  • Effects of lactation on getting things relatively back on track
  • Living a microbiome-friendly life


Related resources*:


Related Birthful episodes:


Toni Harman headshot

Image 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




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