About this Research Topic
Our knowledge of the role of the human microbiota in women’s health has improved in recent decades, with growing evidence of direct and indirect microbial effects on the human body during periods of hormonal variation, pregnancy, fetal development and lactation. Microbial communities interact with host factors to stimulate host immunity, thwart pathogen colonization, and contribute to other aspects of host physiology such as hormone balance and stress response. All of these activities have major impacts on women´s health in pregnancy and postpartum.
Over the course of a normal pregnancy, women undergo hormonal, metabolic and immunological changes that are essential for normal fetal development. Accordingly, the composition of the microbiome also changes during pregnancy. Intestinal microbiota and their metabolic activities play a critical role in body weight control, energy homeostasis, fermentation, absorption of non-digestible carbohydrates, and the development of insulin resistance. The gut microbiome participates in the pathogenesis of several metabolic disorders affecting pregnant women, such as obesity, diabetes mellitus, and GDM. The vaginal microbiome also plays a key role during pregnancy, defending against microbial and viral infections such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, and sexually transmitted diseases. Vaginal microbial dysbiosis may furthermore be associated with preterm delivery and miscarriage. Finally, the composition of the maternal oral, skin, placenta and breast milk microbiotas have been recognized as important to not only to women´s health, and also to that of the newborn.
Understanding of the role of specific microbes and their products in determining normal and pathological pregnancy outcomes is an important step toward the development of therapeutic strategies to restore and optimize the maternal microbiome. The aim of the present Research Topic is to discuss the multifactorial aspects that modulate pregnancy development and its outcomes, in particular:
• Pregnancy and dysbiosis outcomes - Characterization of microbiome, metabolic function and/or immune modulation in association with normal and pathological pregnancy and labor.
• Vaginal microbiome during pregnancy - Vaginal microbiome composition and its interactions; uses of probiotics in vaginal site and its outcomes during pregnancy.
• Human Breast Milk- Characterization of milk microbiome, association with oligosaccharides and possible outcomes in newborns.
• Microbial modulation in other sites and the impact on pregnancy - Oral, skin, placenta and other microbial modulations that may impact pregnancy, women’s health and newborn’s development.
Keywords: pregnancy homeostasis, gestational disorders, breast milk, maternal microbiome, dysbiosis, pregnancy outcomes, newborn, immune modulation, preterm birth, neonatal microbiome
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.