The preconceptional presence of microbiota in the female and male reproductive organs suggests that fertilization is taking place in a nonsterile environment and contributes to reproductive success. The concept of embryonic development in a sterile uterus has also been challenged with recent reports of the existence of a microbiome of the placenta, amniotic fluid and the fetal gut in normal, uncomplicated pregnancies. The maternal origins of the microbiota colonising the fetus and its surroundings are unknown as are the mechanisms of maternal-to-fetal transfer. In this review, we aim to highlight the preconception male and female microbiome, the maternal vaginal and gut microbiome during pregnancy and the fetal microbiome, including their possible roles in reproduction, and maternal and neonatal pregnancy outcome.

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Obstetric Medicine
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Schoenmakers, S., Steegers-Theunissen, R., & Faas, M. (Marijke). (2018). The matter of the reproductive microbiome. Obstetric Medicine. doi:10.1177/1753495X18775899