Cesearean Section Health pregnancy

Babies Born By C-Section More Vulnerable

When infants are born by  cesarean section they miss receiving important good bacteria from their mothers. Missing this, according to Professor Patricia Conway, leaves them more vulnerable to health problems such as asthma and allergies.

baby being born

Professor Patricia Conway of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of New South Wales, warns that babies miss out on the good bacteria they need that are found in their mother’s birth canal. As this bacteria grows on the skin, it eventually makes its way into the baby’s intestines. There it can colonize and make the beginnings of a balanced and healthy immune system.

“With a c-section, the newborn baby misses an opportunity to pick up a lot of Mum’s good bacteria,” Professor Conway said. “This can have long-term health implications, as the development of a good intestinal ecosystem is necessary for health and immunity to allergies, from childhood right through to adulthood.”

While c-sections that occur after labor have begun to allow babies to be exposed to some of the necessary bacteria, elective cesarean sections have more sterile conditions. If the waters have already broken, some of the good bacteria do make their way to the baby.

Other studies have shown that infants born vaginally and those born by c-section have different white blood cells, which may affect how their bodies respond to illnesses. Australian College of Midwives vice-president Hannah Dahlen says infants born by c-section also miss important hormonal signals that occur during labor and teach their bodies how to handle stresses.

”In labour, the baby has a gradual escalation in its stress response and then a gradual decline. Research has shown that this could prime our bodies to respond to stress in a certain way,” she said.

”With a c-section, there is a cold cut and the baby has a dramatic stress response. It could be setting that child up to always over-respond to stress.”

Missing out on the good bacteria and hormone changes could be to blame for the higher rates of asthma, diabetes, and some cancers Dahlen feels.

Babies also receive some of their mother’s bacteria after birth through breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. However, studies from Europe still show that babies born by c-section are 20 percent more likely to develop diabetes. – Summer, staff writer

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About the author


Summer is a mom of three, living life in the slow lane along historic Route 66. She writes, homeschools, gardens, and is still trying to learn how to knit.

1 Comment

  • I don’t know what to say!Yes,we all know natural labour is the best thing for the child.But what about the emergency c-sections when mother and baby will die from infection if not surgery given?I have been so depressed following the birth of my son July 2009 because things went terribly wrong.I wanted a water birth,but was given a 35 hour long agony which ended up in severe infection etc.To get things like this rubbed in your face at all times after recovering from trauma is imply just not nice or fair.
    It’s easy for people with natural labour to write about things like this.You who have not experienced the trauma of almost losing life.To break inside.To be sliced open by a surgeons knife.To have an infection that almost kills you.To think that you will die from your child.Then things like this get fairly inrelevant.

    We ALL know natural birth is the best.But we also know that if a life can be saved,we save it.And what we also know,is that childbirth is a risky event.Women has always been giving birth naturally.But women has also always been dying during childbirth in all times,and still do!

    So let us all just agree on one thing!
    We all try our absolute best!And that’s good enough.
    My son is the happiest,healthiest child ever.Because of my LOVE and CARE.Not because he was born naturally or by c-section.

    Thank you.

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