Pregnancy Takes Guts!

Oof! Was that a kick? Or a GUT feeling?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Creating life takes work! Just ask mice: they carry multiple babies in their tummies at once. How do those mousey mom’s do it? Could good gut health be the key to… plentiful placenta?

Geoffrey Pronovost’s team from UCLA investigated! These scientists questioned the effects of microbiomes, or gut bacteria, during pregnancy. Placentas of forty pregnant mice were imaged and measured. Larger placentas equal more nutrients and blood delivered to the babies!

Mice with reduced microbiomes developed placentas weighing around fifteen percent LESS than normal. These smaller placentas also grew fewer blood vessels. When given the good bacteria byproducts, depleted microbiome mice recovered ten percent of placental weight!

Decreases in placental size and blood vessels have been linked to pregnancy disorders for people. Microbiome treatments could become available for improving placental health! AND mom’s digestion!

Huh… Who ordered these probiotics? MOUSE-t have been Mom!

Reference: Pronovost, G.N. et al. The maternal microbiome promotes placental development in mice. Sci. Adv. 9, eadk1887 (2023).