(Natural News) The decision to have children is a huge one, and it sets in motion a series of further big decisions that will continue throughout your lifetime. However, one of the more immediate big decisions that needs to be addressed once you’ve decided to take the plunge is how you’ll give birth.
While most of us were born in hospitals, times are changing. Hospital births have gone from being largely viewed as a life-saving intervention compared to the home births of yesteryear to a risky proposition that should be considered very carefully. You might already be aware of the downsides of a hospital birth – such as a tendency to favor interventions like inductions, epidurals and C-sections and the risk of infection – but what about the benefits of taking the opposite approach? An eye-opening study published in Scientific Reports shows just how beneficial opting for a home birth can be for a baby’s immunity.
When babies are born, they are colonized by microbes right away, forming their microbiome. In the study, scientists analyzed the microbiomes of fecal samples taken from 35 infants. Among these babies, 21 were delivered in hospitals and 14 came into the world through home births. All of them had been born vaginally and were breastfed, which are two big ways mothers pass their microbes on to their babies.
After taking samples several times throughout the course of a month, it was determined that infants who were born in the hospital had a significantly lower diversity in healthy gut bacteria, and this persisted throughout the duration of the study. This is being attributed to the excessive cleanliness and sterilization in hospitals, which prevents babies from gaining healthy exposure. The researchers also theorized that some of the more common post-birth interventions seen in hospitals, like antibiotic eye drops and early infant bathing, mean babies are exposed to fewer microbes early on.
Giving your child a great start in life
A home birth could help your child have a stronger gut microbiome and the stronger immune system that comes along with it. In contrast, a poorly developed gut microbiome can have long-lasting negative impacts. Studies have linked it to a higher risk of health problems like asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and obesity.
The situation is even worse if you’re one of the many women who is pressured into undergoing a Cesarean section. This is a highly profitable procedure for hospitals, and babies pay the price in many ways, including a compromised microbiome. C-sections have been correlated with a higher risk of Celiac disease, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Although sometimes they are indeed necessary, there are a lot of cases where mothers are misinformed and unaware of their options.
Home births remain rare in the U.S., but they are on the rise, climbing 29 percent in the years from 2004 to 2009 as more women opt to avoid excessive medical intervention. If you’re leaning toward a home birth but you’re encountering resistance from family or friends, be sure to share this study with them. If you want to give your child a strong immune system that will help them stand up to a lifetime of exposure to germs and diseases, a home birth just may be the best path to take.
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