The gut microbiome has important roles in host metabolism and immunity, and microbial dysbiosis affects human physiology and health. Maternal immunity and microbial metabolites during pregnancy, microbial transfer during birth, and transfer of immune factors, microorganisms and metabolites via breastfeeding provide critical sources of early-life microbial and immune training, with important consequences for human health. Only a few studies have directly examined the interactions between the gut microbiome and the immune system during pregnancy, and the subsequent effect on offspring development. In this Review, we aim to describe how the maternal microbiome shapes overall pregnancy-associated maternal, fetal and early neonatal immune systems, focusing on the existing evidence and highlighting current gaps to promote further research.
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