Undisclosed risks of caesarean births: childhood obesity before age 5 and asthma for the newborn child
02/10/2018 // Zoey Sky // Views

While most women are considering giving birth by caesarean section (C-section), not many of them are aware that infants born via this procedure "are 50 [percent] more likely to be obese before the age of five."

A review looked into the long-term risks of C-sections by examining 79 large scientific studies, and findings determined that about 9.2 in every 100 babies born naturally become obese before they're five years old. However, this goes up to 14 out of every 100 babies when they were born by C-section.

The whopping 51 percent increased risk could be due to the babies' surgical removal from the womb, which means they aren't exposed to "important bacteria" like they would've been if they passed through the birth canal. The infants' metabolism and their body’s fat-storage ability could be influenced because they aren't exposed to the bacteria.

Dr. Sarah Stock, co-author of the review from the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, shares that even though it is hard to "conclude that caesarean delivery causes certain outcomes," expectant mothers and clinicians need to know that a C-section delivery poses long-term risks for the baby and future pregnancies.

Dr. Stock continued, "The significance that women attribute to individual risks and benefits is likely to vary, but it is imperative that clinicians take care to ensure that women are made aware of any risk that they are likely to attach significance to."

Over a fourth of women in Britain give birth via C-section, and this went up from 24.1 percent to 27.1 percent in the decade to 2015 to 2016. There are those who believe that this is due to some women  opting for the procedure even though "there is no medical reason for it."


The results of the review revealed that C-sections significantly affected the weight of infants. Dr. Stock adds that while they did not look into the reasons, it is possible that "recovery from caesarean section may affect breastfeeding rates," and that breastfed infants are "less likely to be obese."

Babies born by C-section are at least 20 percent more likely to be diagnosed with asthma before they turn 12. Asthma rates went up from 3.05 in 100 babies born naturally to about 3.65 in every 100 born via C-section.

The babies could develop asthma as they grow because they weren't exposed to the bacteria in the birth canal that offers protection against "allergies which cause wheezing and breathlessness." These children could have allergic reactions "when exposed to common allergens in the home such as those from dogs, cats, and dust mites."

Based on the review, women who opt for C-sections are now "about a third less likely than those who have had a natural birth" to become pregnant again. Infertility could be due to an injury or infection in the womb, especially since doctors have to make incisions to safely deliver the baby. Scarring in the womb could also contribute to a higher rate of miscarriage among women who have undergone the procedure.

This scarring could also be behind the 40 percent risk for "placental abruption," or when the placenta "starts to come away from the womb wall before the baby is born." This can cut off the infant from vital nutrients and hinder the child's proper growth.

Natural remedies to help induce labor

If you want to induce labor naturally and lower your risk of needing a C-section, try some of these methods:

  • Acupuncture - Acupuncture "stimulates the release of oxytocin in the body." Oxytocin is a hormone that helps both the mother and infant during childbirth.
  • Acupressure - There are those who believe that acupressure can "start and restart labor."
  • Exercise - You can try anything that can help get your heart rate up, like a long walk.
  • Red raspberry leaf tea - Midwives recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea the closer you are to your due date. This may "tone and strengthen the uterus," which can help during labor.

You can read more articles about infant health and pregnancy news at WomensHealth.news.

Sources include:




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