Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a devastating condition with high morbidity and mortality seen predominately in preterm infants. Multiple factors are associated with the pathogenesis of NEC. The widespread use of antibiotics in the neonatal intensive care unit might play a role in the pathogenesis of NEC in preterm infants. This review provides a summary on the intestinal microbiota in preterm infants with a focus on how antibiotic exposure may reduce the biodiversity of the intestinal microbiota and may predispose preterm infants to NEC. CONCLUSION: Prolonged antibiotic therapy has been suggested as a risk factor for the development of NEC in preterm infants.