A study taking in more than 10,000 UK infants, claims that C-section deliveries could increase the chances of the child becoming obese during his lifetime.
After taking into account several additional factors including the mother's weight, and how long the child was breast-fed, eleven year olds delivered by C-section were compared to those delivered vaginally, revealing a huge 83 percent risk of the children delivered by C-section to become overweight.
"There may be long-term consequences to children that we don't know about," Dr. Jan Blustein, who led the new study at the New York University School of Medicine, said about C-section deliveries.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of C-section births is rising rapidly-from 1 in 5 deliveries in the year 1996 to 1 in 3 births in the year 2010, which may be a pressing issue, considering the complications associated with C-section births.
C-section births increase the risk of bowel and bladder injuries in women, and also add to complications in future pregnancies, making them an unsuitable option for childbirth.
Analyzing the data from babies born in Avon, UK, the researchers noticed that the babies born through C-section deliveries were a bit smaller than those born vaginally. After six weeks, however, the babies delivered via C-section weighed much more as compared to those who were born vaginally, and this link was even strongly noticed among children having overweight mothers.
Though the reason behind this seemingly mysterious fate of children delivered through C-section is not yet known, researchers speculate that it may have something to do with losing out on the important exposure to the bacteria in the birth canal.
"Generally, the early colonization and establishment of the intestine with bacteria seems very important. Yet, much more work is needed before we can explain the mechanisms of the early bacterial colonization," Teresa Ajslev, from the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Frederiksberg, Denmark, told Reuters Health in an email.
There may be a bacteria that's protective against obesity, or there may be one which disrupts intestinal function in a way that promotes obesity- Ajslev, a researcher and PhD student, who was not a part of the study, speculated.
"The other possibilities are (that) these are children that would have been heavier anyway," Blustein said. "Being heavy as a woman is a risk factor for C-section, so that's the problem with trying to figure out whether this is real or if it's simply a matter of selection."