The role of the microbiome in human health is of increasing interest in the scientific community. A study led by Dr. Ruth Ley from Cornell University that analyzed fecal samples from 91 women across their gestational period identified that the maternal microbiome changes significantly over the course of pregnancy. The women’s individual microbiomes became less diverse as pregnancy ensued, though as a group the total number of bacterial species present was greatest during the final trimester. Additionally, the changes in gut microbiota during each stage of pregnancy were correlated with the degree of fat and inflammation exhibited by the women.
For additional commentary about the study, The Scientist provides a review of the study and interviews with the research team and other subject matter experts. The scientific article was published in Cell.