May 27, 2012
Babies Delivered By Caesarean Section Face Double The Risk of Obesity Compared To Those Delivered Naturally
Women having caesarean births have always had double the risk of illness or even death compared to a vaginal births, but a recent study shows that caesarean born babies are also at double the risk of becoming obese children as those delivered naturally, researchers have claimed.
The risks linked to caesarean births (whether chosen by the woman or her clinicians) are higher, regardless of variables such as demographics, medical and pregnancy history, gestational age of the fetus, pregnancy complications, where the baby is born and the skills of those helping to deliver the baby.
Babies born by elective Caesarean section are also much more likely to develop breathing problems, a Danish study examining 34,000 deliveries suggested.
Rising rates of surgical deliveries may also be driving the obesity epidemic.
In the US study, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital examined 1,225 mother and child pairs over three years, weighing them and measuring the babies’ body fat. One in four of the deliveries was by caesarean.
After taking into account obesity in the mother and other factors, they found almost 16 percent of children delivered by caesarean were obese by the age of three compared with 7.5 percent born naturally.
The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, concluded that infants born surgically are not exposed to beneficial bacteria, and therefore their bodies take longer to accumulate good bugs that boost the body’s metabolism.
Obese adults tend to have fewer ‘friendly’ bacteria in their digestive tract and higher levels of ‘bad’ bacteria, which mean they burn fewer calories and store more of them as fat.
However, other studies show that obese women are more likely to need a caesarean, and are more likely to have children who grow up to be overweight or obese.
The researchers said mothers should be made aware of the potential health risks to the baby when choosing a surgical delivery if it is not necessary.
Sue MacDonald, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: ‘This highlights the need to avoid caesareans that are not medically needed.’
Other downfalls of Caesarean Births Include:
- Placenta Risk
- Asthma Risk
- Immune System Risk
April McCarthy is a community journalist playing an active role reporting and analyzing world events to advance our health and eco-friendly initiatives.