Being as passionate as I am about digestive health, I talk a lot about the good bacteria in your gut and how important they are for a healthy body—especially a strong digestive and immune system. But here’s something that a lot of folks may not know: those trillions of microscopic organisms start setting up shop in your intestines as soon as you’re born!

Essentially, babies are exposed to all that good bacteria as they travel through the birth canal, so it’s no wonder scientists have been studying whether or not being born vaginally or by Caesarean section (C-section) can affect a child’s health later on in life. Take the study done recently at Stanford University, where experts examined the bacteria found on babies immediately after they were delivered.

What researchers discovered was that the bacteria found on vaginal birth babies as opposed to those delivered by C-section were significantly different, and that the difference may make Caesarean babies more prone to certain health conditions as they grow older, including things like asthma and allergies.

So why such a difference? It has to do with exposing the body to certain bacteria right away so that it can better understand how to respond to them later, and babies who are exposed to their mother’s beneficial vaginal bacteria may have somewhat of a head start. Still, experts have suggested that supplementing with probiotics may help C-section babies better develop their gut bacteria.

While there’s a lot more to the connection that scientists are still working to understand, it gives you a pretty good idea about just how important the bacteria in your gut really are when it comes to developing a strong and healthy body…and why I’m so pro probiotics!