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'Unhealthy' changes in gut microbes benefit pregnant women

The composition of microbes in the gut changes dramatically during pregnancy, according to a study published by Cell Press in the August 3rd issue of the journal Cell. Although these changes are associated with metabolic disease under most circumstances, they could be beneficial in pregnant women.

"This is the first in-depth characterization of the gut microbiota associated with pregnancy," says senior study author Ruth Ley of Cornell University. "The findings suggest that our bodies have coevolved with the microbiota and may actually be using them as a tool—to help alter the mother's metabolism to support the growth of the fetus."

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