Study Shows Maternal Diet Alters the Breast Milk Microbiome and Microbial Gene Content

ATLANTA (Feb. 1, 2016)—In a study to be presented on Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m. EST, at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine’s annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting™, in Atlanta, researchers will present findings from a study titled, Maternal Diet Alters the Breast Milk Microbiome and Microbial Gene Content.

Breast milk contains a diverse microbiome that is presumed to colonize the infant gastrointestinal tract and contribute to the establishment of the infant gut microbiome. The composition of the breast milk microbiome varies over time and among individuals, though the factors driving the variation are largely unknown. Since maternal diet during gestation and lactation has been previously shown to independently alter the offspring microbiome and offspring disease susceptibility, researchers speculated that the breast milk microbiome may be a mediator of this dietary impact. Two groups of lactating women participated in highly-controlled single-blinded cross-over dietary intervention studies to evaluate if maternal diet plays a significant role in structuring the taxonomic and metagenomic composition of the breast milk microbiome.

“We saw considerable differences based on maternal diet,” explained Kristen Meyer, with the Baylor College of Medicine, one of the researchers of the study and the presenter at the SMFM annual meeting. “Based on this, we speculate that the maternal diet serves as a significant driver of the early infant microbiome, reinforcing the gestational dietary impact,” added Meyer.

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A copy of the abstract is available at and below. For interviews please contact Vicki Bendure at 202-374-9259 (cell).


The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (est. 1977) is the premiere membership organization for obstetricians/gynecologists who have additional formal education and training in maternal-fetal medicine. The society is devoted to reducing high-risk pregnancy complications by sharing expertise through continuing education to its 2,000 members on the latest pregnancy assessment and treatment methods. It also serves as an advocate for improving public policy, and expanding research funding and opportunities for maternal-fetal medicine. The group hosts an annual meeting in which groundbreaking new ideas and research in the area of maternal-fetal medicine are shared and discussed.  For more information visit


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