Antibiotics during pregnancy could be to blame
Dr. Martin Blaser at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City recently led a study that found that mothers do pass on risk to their children, but not by genetic means. The study, published in Nature Microbiology, found that the effects of antibiotics in the mother can stay in her system and be passed down to the child at birth. This affects the child’s gut flora—a complex system of healthy and positive bacteria in the gut—and can drastically increase a child’s risk of inflammatory bowel disease. Blaser stated that there is “strong evidence that antibiotics change the baby’s inherited microbial communities with long-term disease consequences.” In mice, the study found a “55-fold increase in bowel inflammation when they inherited their mother’s antibiotic-treated gut bacteria.” While the results of the study were confirmed in mice, researchers have reason to believe that the same data hold true for humans.