News Friday June 8, 2012

Obesity could be caused by caesareans

A recent US study has shown that babies born via a caesarean (one in every four in the UK) are more likely to become obese as adults.

The research involved more than 1,200 babies and found that those delivered via a C-section were twice as likely to be obese and have a higher BMI (body mass index) by the age of three compared to those delivered naturally.

Sue McDonald, of the Royal College of Midwives, said that “while the majority of caesareans are carried out for valid medical reasons, there is a small group of women who, either because they are frightened of giving birth or because they feel that it is an easier way to have a baby, will request a section.”

She went on to say that although a doctor will explain the potential risks to the mother, they will now be advised of the possibilities of long-term health problems to the baby.

Previous studies have shown other health risks associated with caesarean births such as a high risk of developing asthma, according to a 2008 study from Zurich.

The reason for these potential complications is that babies born via a caesarean may be a lack of exposure to natural bacteria which is found in the vagina.

Experts have warned about the dangers of underestimating the complications of a caesarean compared to a natural birth.

"There is this completely inaccurate myth, sometimes perpetuated by TV shows and glamorous stars, that a caesarean is much easier on the body than natural birth, that you will be up and about within a few hours, as if nothing had happened," says Sue McDonald.

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