Cesarean Section Delivery Not Harmful To Child's Health: Study

Birth via Cesarean section saw its rise in the last few decades. According to the American Pregnancy Association, one in four women are likely to have Cesarean delivery and the high numbers have pushed health professionals to call for the issuance of new Cesarean birth guidelines, according to the Boston Globe.

In August, a study from experts at York University suggested that a C-section could affect the baby's ability to focus when they are older, according to its press release. In June, another study published in the British Medical Journal stated that babies born via C-section were likely to have asthma, diabetes and obesity problems, as reported by CBS News.

But a new study, published in the Oct. 12 of the journal Pediatrics, raised a contrary point that challenges the previous findings.  The experts say that Cesarean birth has, in fact, no effect on the baby's health problems in later years.

"This study suggests that some of the previously reported associations between birth by Cesarean delivery and adverse childhood health outcomes may be explained by influences other than mode of birth," said Elizabeth Westrupp, the lead researcher, according to Health Day.

The experts studied the data of 5,100 children who were delivered through Cesarean birth in Australia from 2003 to 2004. Their health records were followed until the age of seven-years-old, whereby the experts looked for any indications of asthma development and extreme changes in the body weight. The children's medical records were also checked, as well as their social and economic situation.

In their findings, Westrupp and her team first discovered that babies born via C-section developed medical condition by age two or three, or require prescription drugs by age six or seven, or weigh more by age eight. But taking into account other factors, they have concluded that the links to these conditions aren't exclusively associated with C-section births, but mostly due to the mother's condition when she gave birth and took care of the baby.

"When we took into account factors related to birth, social disadvantage, maternal weight and breast-feeding, we found few associations between Cesarean birth and child outcomes," Westrupp said.

With the study, the experts said that doctors and mothers don't have to worry that a C-section procedure will have long-term effects on the child's health.

Dr. Aaron Caughey, who is an obstetrician and gynecologist not connected with the study supported the findings of Westrupp's team and said that there is "scant evidence" C-section threatens the health of the infant. However, Caughey also cautions. "We have encouraged doctors to be thoughtful and not do C-sections willy-nilly," according to the Health Day report.

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