Virtual Event

Journal Club Webinar: Microbiome science and perinatal care: why does it matter?

Will air on October 19, 2021 | 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

This webinar will be recorded and be available for replay after it airs.

You may not realize it, but the cells that make up your body are only about 10% human. The rest of the cells of your body are composed of microorganisms who are continually interacting with your human cells to either keep you vibrant and healthy or sluggish and sickly. The microbiome of the human body is the ecosystem for numerous species of microorganisms. Bacteria, fungi, archaea, viruses, and other microorganisms are what make up the microbiome that covers the inside and outside of your body. These microorganisms serve different purposes but they all work together and with your body to help you operate in the most efficient manner possible. 

The microbiome is responsible for aiding in multiple metabolic processes, increasing immunity to a variety of diseases, and has a critical impact on the interaction between your organs. When there is a disruption in the balance between “good” and “bad” microbes or certain microbes are dislocated into inappropriate parts of the body, this is when the disease is given the opportunity to occur. 

The perinatal care period is a very important time for the microbiome as there are many factors that modulate the development and function of this ecosystem spanning prenatal, intrapartum and postpartum phases. So, what you do when you are pregnant, birth your baby and engage with your baby in the postpartum period matters. Our understanding of the microbiome and how to minimize disruption to this important health-driving ecosystem has proliferated in the last decade. 

All relevant care providers are called to better understand the microbiome and their implications are common practices through the perinatal period, some of which are beneficial and some of which have negative implications for the microbiome. 


  • What is the microbiome? 
  • Implications of prenatal practices on the microbiome 
  • Implications of intrapartum practices on the microbiome
  • Implications of early post-natal practices on the microbiome 
  • Breast feeding and microbiome health 


  • Understand the what, why and how of the microbiome 
  • Understanding how to minimize disruption of the microbiome (spoiler alert – birth practices!)
  • Understand how to optimize diversity and function of the microbiome


Dr. Sinéad Dufour is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Health Science at McMaster University. She teaches and conducts research in both the Schools of Medicine and Rehabilitation Science. She completed her MScPT at McMaster University (2003), her PhD in Health and Rehabilitation Science at Western (2011), and returned to McMaster to complete a post-doctoral fellowship (2013). Her current research interests include: conservative approaches to manage pelvic floor dysfunction, pregnancy-related pelvic-girdle pain, and inter-professional collaborative practice models of service provision to enhance pelvic health. Additionally, Sinéad has undergone training in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine and is currently completing a full certificate program with Dr. Aviva Romm. Sinéad stays current clinically through her work as the Director of Pelvic Health Services at The World of my Baby (the WOMB) a family of perinatal care centers in Ontario, Canada. In addition to managing her own very busy caseload, she mentors novice pelvic health physiotherapists and is a clinical preceptor for family medicine residents and midwifery students from McMaster University. Sinéad in an invited member on several committees for various organizations including the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and the International Continence Society. She is also serving as the Guest Editor for the upcoming special issue: Optimizing the Fourth Trimester, for the Women’s Health Physical Therapy Journal. Her passion for optimizing perinatal care and associated upstream health promotion for women and children stemmed from her own experience becoming a mother of twins. She is an advocate for women’s pelvic health and a regular invited speaker at conferences around the world.


The Journal Club is a member-led group sponsored by the Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy and the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy (JWHPT). It is open to PTs, PTAs, SPTs and other medical health professionals who are interested in discussing the latest evidence and research to advance practice.

The free webinars usually take place monthly and last about one hour. The format is typically a moderated discussion with a question and answer segment to allow for real-time engagement and clinical discussion. Registration is required and recordings are sent to registrants who cannot attend live. Archives of past events can be found here.

Disclaimer: The JWHPT promotes scholarly discussion and clinical dissemination of best available evidence; Journal Club presenter’s are responsible for the accuracy of the content. Ideas and opinions expressed may not be those of the Academy of Pelvic Health and JWHPT.