Are baby girls born by cesarean at greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes?

Obstetrics & Gynecology

22 Apr 2020 | 0 | by kjh

12460login-checkAre baby girls born by cesarean at greater risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes?

Harvard scientists have published a study in the JAMA Network Open and it finds that baby girls who are born by cesarean could be at higher risk of obesity and developing type 2 diabetes.

Harvard scientists found that there is an 11% higher risk of obesity and a 46% higher risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with those delivered by natural birth. It’s possible that it a result of the microbes babies are exposed to in their mother’s canal when born naturally compared with those they face when delivered by cesarean. The study was based on more than 33,000 women aged between 24 and 44, of which around 3% were born by cesarean.  Almost 37% of women were obese while around 6% were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the study’s follow up period.

Results revealed women born by cesarean were more likely to fall into this group than those delivered by natural birth. The reasons behind the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes in adulthood among those born by cesarean remain unclear. But growing evidence points to the hygiene theory and changes in the child’s gut bacteria. Gut bacteria can modulate chronic inflammation thus, changes in gut microbiota can be associated with fat and glucose metabolism.

Babies delivered through a natural birth are quickly colonized by microbes from their mother’s birth canal and feces while those born by cesarean are colonized by environmental microbes. As a result, newborn babies delivered by cesarean harbor less diverse gut bacteria, particularly those which have shown to be protective against obesity. However, it is unknown whether it will last long-term. Differences in DNA between children born by cesarean delivery and those by a natural birth have also been suggested as a biological explanation underlying longterm health outcomes of cesarean delivery but the evidence is scarce.

The study’s findings were consistent across multiple strategies for accuracy reasons, suggesting that these links are consistent with a true biological association of birth by cesarean delivery. But scientists said more evidence is needed to investigate whether babies born by cesarean are at higher risk of developing other adverse metabolic and cardiovascular conditions.

 

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