The Prenatal Microbiome: A New Player for Human Health
The last few years have featured an increasing interest in the study of the human microbiome and its correlations with health status. Indeed, technological advances have allowed the study of microbial communities to reach a previously unthinkable sensitivity, showing the presence of microbes also in environments usually considered as sterile. In this scenario, microbial communities have been described in the amniotic fluid, the umbilical blood cord, and the placenta, denying a dogma of reproductive medicine that considers the uterus like a sterile womb. This prenatal microbiome may play a role not only in fetal development but also in the predisposition to diseases that may develop later in life, and also in adulthood. Thus, the aim of this review is to report the current knowledge regarding the prenatal microbiome composition, its association with pathological processes, and the future perspectives regarding its manipulation for healthy status promotion and maintenance.