A new study has revealed that babies born through C-section are at a significantly higher risk of developing allergies. The study, undertaken by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, indicates that C-section infants are five times more likely to develop sensitivities to common allergens such as dust mites and pet hair, The Daily Mail reports.
It is believed that children delivered by Caesarean are at a greater risk of allergies than other babies due to the fact that children delivered naturally are exposed to bacteria from the mother’s birth canal and straight away start developing resistances whereas C-section infants avoid this exposure. Dr. Christine Cole Johnson from the Henry Ford Hospital says, “This further advances the hygiene hypothesis that early childhood exposure to micro-organisms affects the immune system’s development and onset of allergies… We believe a baby’s exposure to bacteria in the birth canal is a major influencer on their immune system.”
Newswise reports the study investigated 1258 babies born between 2003 and 2007, evaluating the children at one month, six months, one year and two years of age. The process took into account variables including family history of allergies and asthma, pregnancy variables, tobacco smoke exposure, medicine exposure, the health of the child’s parents and other illnesses the child might have been at risk of. By age two, the children delivered by C-section presented significantly higher instances of allergies to common home triggers including dust mites and dander, Metro notes.
According to Dr. Johnson, Caesarean section babies have a different pattern of “at risk” microorganisms in their gastrointestinal tract. This could increase a child’s risk of developing Immunoglobin E (IgE), an antibody that has been connected to allergies and asthma, when the child comes into contact with common allergy triggers.
As well as an increase in common allergies, recent studies published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal earlier this month indicated babies delivered by C-section were also more likely to develop asthma.