The development of a proper neonatal microbiota is of great importance, especially for the effects that dysbiosis has in acute and chronic diseases’ onset. The microbiota, particularly the intestinal one, plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of the host, preventing colonization by pathogenic bacteria and significantly influencing the development and maturation of a normal gastrointestinal mucosal immunity. Several factors may interfere with the physiological development of microbiota, such as diseases during pregnancy, type of delivery, maternal nutrition, type of neonatal feeding, use of antibiotics, exposition to hospital environment (e.g., neonatal intensive care unit) and genetic factors. Thanks to a proper maternal and neonatal supplementation with specific functional nutrients, it is now possible to correct dysbiosis, thus reducing the risks for the newborn’s health. In this review of the literature, we give an overview of the studies highlighting the composition of the maternal, fetal and neonatal microbiota, the factors potentially responsible for dysbiosis and the use of functional nutrients to prevent diseases’ onset.
Functional nutrients; probiotics; prebiotics; microbiota; fermented matrix.