Birth Mode, Breastfeeding, Pet Exposure, and Antibiotic Use: Associations With the Gut Microbiome and Sensitization in Children

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Current allergy and asthma reports


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The infant gut microbiota has become a focus of multiple epidemiologic and cohort studies. This microbiome is derived from the mother (via the vaginal canal, maternal skin contact, breastfeeding, and possibly in utero microbial transfer) and is likely influenced by multiple external factors. It is now believed by some experts that colonization and formation of the newborn and alterations of gut microbiota in children are dependent on earlier alterations of the microbiota of mothers during or perhaps even before pregnancy. This review will focus on specific factors (pet keeping, breastfeeding, antibiotic use, and mode of delivery) that influence the infant gut microbiome and atopy.

RECENT FINDINGS: This is a review of recent literature describing how pet keeping, breastfeeding, antibiotic use, and mode of delivery influences and changes the infant gut microbiome and atopy. General trends in gut microbiota differences have emerged in different birth cohorts when each external factor is analyzed, but consistency between studies is difficult to replicate. The aforementioned factors do not seem to confer an overwhelming risk for development of atopy alone. This review provides a comprehensive review of early life environmental factors and their influence on the infant gut microbiome and atopy.

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