Why disgusting bacteria is so good for you.

Is a Dirty Baby a Healthy Baby?

Is a Dirty Baby a Healthy Baby?

A podcast about health and health myths, from Slate and WBUR.
March 30 2015 6:58 PM


The Checkup from Slate and WBUR delivers a podcast that truly comes from the gut.

Baby girl (6-9 months) with dirty face.
Baby girl (6-9 months) with dirty face, close-up

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Siri Stafford/Thinkstock

Listen to Episode 9 of WBUR’s The Checkup: Grossology

The Checkup has returned for a second season! Enjoy this health podcast, a collaboration between Slate and WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station. You can find past episodes in The Checkup’s individual feed.


From WBUR and Slate, the solidly reported and also somewhat opinionated take on health news for you and your family. This installment dives into some pretty gross stuff that also happens to be pretty fascinating.

First, we talk about the promise of fecal transplants with microbiologist Mark Smith of OpenBiome, the nation’s first stool bank. Next up, the vaginal “schmear”: a way to give babies delivered by C-section exposure to healthy vaginal bacteria, which may strengthen their immune systems. Plus, we ask author Moises Velasquez-Manoff if it’s good to let babies get dirty.

Your hosts are Carey Goldberg and Rachel Zimmerman, former newspaper reporters and co-producers of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog. Each episode of The Checkup features a different topic—previous topics included college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout, and vaccine issues.

The Checkup podcast is produced at WBUR by George Hicks.

Like CommonHealth on Facebook, and tell us and other listeners what you think of this week’s edition. Or drop a note to podcasts@slate.com.

Carey Goldberg is the co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, and a former Boston bureau chief of the New York Times.

Rachel Zimmerman is the co-host of WBUR’s CommonHealth blog, and a former health care reporter at the Wall Street Journal.