Last week on my drive home, I listed to a fascinating segment on NPR about the microbiome of the placenta in healthy pregnant women. Until recently, scientists believed that the placenta was basically a sterile organ. But it turns out that this is not the case, and the makeup of the microbial environment of the placenta may actually have implications for the health of the fetus. The study NPR reported on, conducted by Dr. Kjersti Aagaard of the Baylor College of Medicine, found that the microbiome of the placenta was actually most similar to the bacteria found in the mouth, causing scientists to theorize that oral microbes may enter the mother’s bloodstream and find their way to the placenta.
The research is all in fairly early stages but I thought it was incredible to learn a bit more about the role bacteria in the placenta may play in fetal health and development. I encourage you to check out the article for yourself here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=314589094.