The Maternal Gut Microbiome During Pregnancy
The gut microbiome is a critical component of an individual's metabolism and overall health. The prenatal period is marked by unique inflammatory and immune changes that alter maternal gut function and bacterial composition as the pregnancy advances. The composition of the maternal gut microbiome contributes to obstetric outcomes with long-term health sequelae for mother and child. Estrogen and progesterone also have an impact on gut function, especially during the prenatal period. These physiologic changes in pregnancy allow for adjustments in maternal metabolism and weight necessary to support the pregnancy. Normal hormonal, metabolic, and immunologic changes to the maternal gut microbiome throughout the prenatal period are reviewed, including relevant implications for nurses providing care for pregnant women.