Breastfeeding for at least six months is extremely beneficial for the new born. It ensures that the child is healthy. Breast milk protects the baby from infections as it is full of healthy ingredients 5and several studies have shown that babies who are breastfed for at least six months are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea, sickness, cold and flu. Well, a new study has now found that breast milk contains compounds that can help prevent the onset of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections in newborns.
GROUP B STREPTOCOCCUS
GBS causes blood infections, stillbirth and meningitis in infants. Antibiotics may treat and prevent GBS infections, but the bacterium is becoming increasingly resistant.
During labour, an expecting woman who tests positive for GBS is generally given intravenous antibiotics to help avoid early-onset infections that develop during the first week of life.
The researchers examined how GBS infection of placental immune cells (called macrophages) and the gestational membrane were affected by a combination of HMOs from various mothers. They found that HMOs were capable of fully inhibiting bacterial growth in both macrophages and membranes. After analysising whether HMOs could prevent a GBS infection or not, the researchers found that that HMO therapy can reduce GBS infection in five distinct regions of the reproductive tract.
In this case, sugars may be able to take the place of antibiotics. The antibiotics are known to destroy beneficial bacteria and are becoming less effective as antibiotic resistance spreads.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 2,000 babies in the U.S.get GBS each year, and 4-6% of them die from it. The bacteria are often transferred from mother to baby during labor and delivery. An expectant mother who tests positive for GBS is usually given intravenous antibiotics during labour to help prevent early-onset infections, which occur during the first week of life.