Author

Lariza Haro

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)

Department

School of Nursing

First Advisor

Nancy Ebersole

Abstract

Humans enjoy a beneficial symbiotic relationship with bacteria. Although commonly thought to be the cause of illness, bacteria aid in food digestion along with creating resistance to disease. The microbiome refers to the aggregate of bacteria that reside in our intestinal track. There has been an effort over the past decade to map the human microbiome in order to identify this relationship. Given this crucial role of microbiota in human health, it is important to know how the microbiome is formed in infancy as it may impact one’s future ability to obtain wellness. A review of the literature was done to examine what is known of the microbiome at the earliest stage of life and the relationship to issues later in life. The articles were identified using the databases CINAHL, PubMed, and MEDLINE. Five themes were identified across the articles studied. The microbiome: (a) of preterm infants differs from full-term infants; (b) at birth is found in both the lungs and intestines; (c) development is affected by an infant’s intake of formula vs. breastmilk; (d) present and its amount present during infancy may influence the risk of developing behavioral issues; (e) development is altered when antibiotics are administered to newborns/infants. The choices of how a child will be fed is decided during pregnancy and consideration of the microbiome and its effect on future health has serious implications. Knowledge of the microbiome’s role in healthy growth and development should be considered when working with expectant mothers, parents and families of newborns.

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