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C-Section deliveries increase risk of allergies & asthma

In the past few years, the number of caesarean section deliveries have been increasing. It has become fashionable to do so with the media reporting a number of celebrities asking for this procedure. Unfortunately a recent study conducted by a team of scientists from the University of California at San Francisco presented their negative findings to the American Thoracic Society's 2008 International Conference in Toronto recently. They stated that babies born by C-Section have weaker immune systems than those born vaginally, which may explain the increased risk of developing allergies and asthma.

A few month ago, I attended a two day lecture on the benefits of probiotic therapy in children and it relates to the recent news announced by these California researchers. Probiotics are the good bacteria that populate our gastrointestinal tract. Please see my previous post on the benefits of probiotics:

Babies born vaginally are exposed to the flora/bacteria from the mother's vaginal tract which is usually good. C-section babies are first exposed to bacteria from the environment by a baby or mother touching objects and putting their finger into the infant's mouth. This set of bacteria are different from the ones that the infant would have received from a vaginal birth.

A large scale clinical trial is being conducted into the UK into whether probiotic therapy with newborns will help to decrease the risks of developing atopic conditions like eczema, allergies & asthma. This research looks promising!

So given a choice between a C-Section or a vaginal birth, I recommend the latter.

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