A new study has revealed that babies delivered by caesarean section may be at a heightened risk of developing obesity during childhood.
A caesarean section (sometimes called the c-section) is an operation in which a specialist medic (an obstetrician) makes a cut through the stomach and uterus (womb) of the mother so that the baby can be born. In some cases the mother elects for a c-section, in other cases it is recommended by medics if the baby developed a complication during pregnancy or labor.
In related to the c-section, some interesting research has been published by the Archives of Disease in Childhood (linked to the British Medical Journal). According to ABC News, this research has revealed that c-sections are associated with a doubling in the odds of obesity by the time children are three years old, regardless of birth weight, maternal weight and other factors. The researchers also investigated breastfeeding duration, time of weaning and TV exposure as potential factors that influence child obesity.
As the French Tribune details this finding came about following an assessment of 1,255 US mother-and-child pairs, with one in four of the study group opting for c-sections.
According to the researchers based at the Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, led by Dr. Susanna Huh, this discrepancy could be due to the difference between the two methods in terms of the composition of gut bacteria acquired at birth, with caesarean deliveries also linked to increased risk of childhood asthma and allergic rhinitis.
The title of the study was “Delivery by caesarean section and risk of obesity in preschool age children: a prospective cohort study”. In the conclusion the author’s summarize:
"An association between caesarean birth and increased risk of childhood obesity would provide an important rationale to avoid non-medically indicated caesarean section.”