Babies born via C-section may be at risk for health problems, researchers say
In the last 50 years, the number of cesarean births have multiplied by seven, according to Childbirth Connection. In 1965 the C-section birth rate was 4.5 percent. In 2014, 32.2 percent of births were C-sections, making it one of the most common procedures in American operating rooms, according to Childbirth Connection.
The average rate for C-sections in other countries is closer to 19 percent, according to Stat News, so why are so many Americans heading for the surgical suite when it's time to deliver? "Today" reports that there are a few reasons that contribute to the higher numbers including more older women giving birth, obesity, more multiple pregnancies, more inductions and more women opting to have C-section over traditional labor.
Research from the UC San Diego School of Medicine may have found new information that could discourage women from choosing an optional C-section in the future, according to the Times of San Diego.
Researchers studied 18 babies and found that those infants who were born via C-section may be more vulnerable to certain health risks including obesity, asthma, allergies and immune deficiencies, according to the Times of San Diego.
Researchers believe this higher risk comes because the infants are not exposed to certain "vaginal microbes," according to the Times of San Diego. While the research is a preliminary study, the researchers would like to do longer, more in-depth research to pinpoint how serious the risks are.
The study purposes introducing children born via C-section to vaginal microbes to help their immune system develop more efficiently, according to the Times of San Diego.
"This study ... provides the proof-of-concept that microbiome modification early in life is possible. In fact, we already have more than 10,000 additional samples collected as part of this study that still await analysis," Rob Knight, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego, told the Times of San Diego.