Neonatal bacterial colonization of the intestine—Implications for the practitioner

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Rebecca McClay Michael Mileski Jesica L. Naiman

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Background: Neonatal intestinal bacterial colony balance has correlations with positive and negative health situations. The understanding of how neonate colonization occurs is therefore extremely important in providing life-extending and holistic care for infants. Certain medical interventions can impede optimal intestinal colonization. However, with proper screening and identification, side effects can be limited and compensated for, and complications can be minimized in an already compromised population. This study aims to identify influences on neonate microbiomes to create best practices for increased health outcomes.  Develop mitigations for factors leading to intestinal microbiome conditions linked to negative neonate outcomes and increase opportunities for healthy colonization.

Methods: The research team conducted a literature review via PubMed, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature, and Academic Search Ultimate to collect data regarding neonatal bacterial colonization of the intestine. 

Results: Normal colonization is affected by birth age, birthing method, time spent in direct skin to skin contact with mother and feeding type. Iatrogenic influences include the use of oral and topical antibiotics, proton blockers, and practices that limit direct contact.

Conclusion: The nursing process and policy adaptations can have a positive effect on developing a protective neonate intestinal microbiome. Awareness of risks and early clinical signs can improve positive interventions that may prevent life-threatening complications in susceptible neonates.



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McClay R, Mileski M, Naiman J. Neonatal bacterial colonization of the intestine—Implications for the practitioner. jidhealth [Internet]. 9Dec.2019 [cited 25Nov.2020];2(2):102-7. Available from: