C-section babies more at risk of becoming obese
Babies born by Caesarean section are 15 per cent more likely become obese children than those delivered naturally.
The shock new figures have been presented by experts at Harvard School of Public Health, who found that new-mums who had undergone the surgical delivery had a higher chance of having an overweight child. Further evidence suggests the weight problems could persist into adulthood.
More than 22,000 people were tracked since birth, with the team of experts checking in on the children when they were aged between nine and 14. It was found that those born via C-section were 15 per cent more likely to be obese. When scientists visited the participants again aged between 20 and 28, the obesity rate was still markedly higher, though had dropped to 10 per cent.
Results have been published in journal JAMA Paediatrics, but the team needs to investigate further to determine why this link exits.
C-section births within families, where one sibling is born naturally and another through C-section, were also looked into, and the results were even more surprising, with 64 per cent of the births likely to become obese when they’re older compared to a sibling born by vaginal birth.
Senior author Jorge Chavarro said that while Caesarean deliveries are “without a doubt a necessary and lifesaving procedure”, they also have some unknown risks to mother and baby.
“Our findings show that risk of obesity in the offspring could be another factor to consider,” Jorge added. “I think that our findings - particularly those that show a dramatic difference in obesity risk between those born via Caesarean and their siblings born through vaginal delivery - provide very compelling evidence that the association between Caesarean birth and childhood obesity is real.
“That's because, in the case of siblings, many of the factors that could potentially be playing a role in obesity risk, including genetics, would be largely the same for each sibling - except for the type of delivery.”
During birth, babies who pass through the birth canal have their immune system and metabolism prepped and primed, something C-section babies therefore miss out on.