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Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:17

Babies born by caesarean had greater risk of obesity

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sleepBabies born by caesarean section are twice as likely to be obese because of differences in the bacteria in their gut, researchers have suggested, reports Telegraph daily.


The researchers calculated that it would mean the average three year old would be 0.5lb or 0.23kg heavier if they were born by caesarean when compared with those born naturally. They said the obesity epidemic could be driven in part by rising rates of surgical deliveries.
It is thought differences in the bacteria in the gut between those born by caesarean and those born naturally is the reason but further research is needed, the experts said.

Women who have Caesareans are normally given antibiotics and this could influence gut bacteria in the baby as well as transit through the birth canal.  It may be that gut bacteria influence the development of obesity by increasing energy extracted from the diet, and by stimulating cells to boost insulin resistance, inflammation, and fat deposits, it was suggested.

In the US study, researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital examined 1,225 mother and child pairs over three years, weighing them and measuring the babies’ body fat. One in four of the deliveries was by caesarean. By age three, one in six of them was classed as obese compared with one in 13 of those born naturally.

After taking into account other factors that would influence the weight of the child, including mother's weight, birth weight, the results were unchanged and those born by caesarean were twice as likely to be obese and were more likely to have a high body mass index and more fat.
The researchers also investigated breastfeeding duration, time of weaning and TV exposure as potential factors that influence child obesity.
After all factors were taken into account there was a stronger link with emergency caesarean than with pre-planned ones, although the numbers were small for this calculation.

Researcher’s says
"A mother who chooses caesarean delivery on maternal request should be aware of potential health risks to her and her baby, including childhood obesity and other potential long-term risks, wrote  Lead author Dr Susanna Huh, of the Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children’s Hospital, Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood:

"In this study, infants delivered by caesarean section had twofold higher odds of childhood obesity, even after adjusting for maternal BMI, birth weight and other confounding variables.
"Further studies are needed to confirm our findings and to explore mechanisms underlying this association.
"Expectant mothers choosing caesarean delivery in the absence of an obstetrical or medical indication should be aware that their children may have a higher risk of obesity."

Sue Macdonald, education and research manager at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This highlights the need to avoid caesarean sections that are not medically needed.
“Evidence is building and suggests that unnecessary caesarean sections may have detrimental effects in the short and long term for the woman, and the child. This research adds to that evidence but further research is needed to confirm these findings.
“There is also a need to provide on-going support to women, their babies and families towards improving and addressing weight management, initially through supporting breastfeeding and then through healthy eating. This can have benefits not just around pregnancy but for the mother and her family generally.”

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Read 2974 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:36


  • Comment Link Amy Croswell Friday, 25 May 2012 17:21 posted by Amy Croswell

    There is so much we don't know about how the gut bacteria influences the disease process. Our lab is particularly interested in the gut flora and various forms of colitis. In this particular case, it is rather interesting the correlation between C-sections and increased risk of obesity.

    I wonder why there was the difference between pre-planned C-sections vs. emergency ones? Does anyone have any insight on that?

  • Comment Link Cesar Friday, 25 May 2012 16:50 posted by Cesar

    I went through the study and I believe the population of the study is not significant. Bacteria in the gut and antibiotics in relation to obesity? More studies are needed to prove it and up to know to me it is still baseless.
    I have 2 kids born by caesarean section due to placenta previa, never obese growing up but year after migrating to the US, they started gaining weight, 3 years after, they became obese. I still believe and I would like to reiterate that obesity is to food addiction and lack of exercise and sometimes hormonal overactivity.

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