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MothersBabies Newsletter:

C-SECTIONS VS. VAGINAL BIRTHS: The Impact on Bub's Gut Microbiome

27/11/2023

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Before we start, can we please make it very very clear that we are not saying that C sections are ‘bad’, that no-one should ever ‘choose’ to have one, or that babies born via C-section will not be healthy…no way… We’re not here for any of those judgemental opinions or über-dramatic scare tactics!

What we are here for is expanding knowledge and empowering parents-to-be to make the best choice for their baby, and themselves. The science highlights some clear differences between the microbiome of babies born via C-section compared to those born naturally, and being aware of these facts can help you to feel informed and empowered if you are lucky enough to have a choice about which birth mode you would like to pursue….
 

 
Below are some interesting findings from a 2021 study comparing the gut microbiome of vaginally born babies to c-section born babies at 1 month of age, 6 months of age, and then 1 year of age…
 
  • The gut microbiome of C-section babies remained persistently different from vaginally-born babies in their 1st year of life.
  • The gut microbiome in C-section babies affects their immune system status during their first year of life, which may be one of the reasons why C-section babies often end up with more chronic diseases, like metabolic disorders and allergy.
  • Babies born vaginally had more of the ‘beneficial’ gut bugs, like Bifidobacterium and Faecalibacterium.
  • At one year, C section babies had higher pro-inflammatory immune responses than vaginally born babies.
  • A gut bug species known as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was found to be more abundant in vaginally born babies at one year of age. This particular species is associated with more richness and diversity of the gut microbiome, which we know is a good thing for overall health.
  • A gut bug species known as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii was found to be more abundant in vaginally born babies at one year of age. This particular species is associated with more richness and diversity of the gut microbiome, which we know is a good thing for overall health.

How is this helpful?

Firstly, for those women who do get to choose between a vaginal birth and c-section, it is important to note that your choices do have some repercussions. 

Secondly, if you do end up needing (or choosing to have) a C-section, it is empowering to know that this may impact your baby’s microbiome, so that you can look into other ‘gut-microbiome-supporting’ choices for your bub in those early months…things like breastfeeding make a big difference to your bub’s microbiome development!

LEARN MORE HERE

The information in this newsletter is provided for general educational purposes only.

Statements or opinions expressed in the newsletter should not be taken as fact, but as opinion on the current state of evidence based science. The content is not (and should not be taken to be) medical advice or an endorsement or recommendation of any specific product or treatment. 

If you require medical attention please seek professional advice from an appropriately experienced health practitioner.

 

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