Preemies Delivered Caesarean Face Higher Asthma Risk

Caesarean sections or c-sections have become a more common form of delivery in hospitals to ensure that our babies arrive safe and healthy. However, it turns out that caesarean delivery is associated with an increased risk of childhood asthma and hospitalization in premature infants.

According to a report in the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, a team of scientist investigated the relationship between c-section and asthma. Their findings provide new insight into why caesarean delivery may predispose an infant to having asthma.

Apparently, c-section delivery alters the bacterial colonization of the gut (the lower portion of the digestive tract - including the small and large intestines or bowel - where food is normally digested and nutrients are absorbed). This colonization normally occurs shortly after birth. Researchers believe that the colonization of the gut may have a protective effect against both asthma and allergies, and suggest that any modification of the bacterial colonization, brought on by c-section, may actually hinder the infant's tolerance to allergenic substances and thereby increase their risk of asthma.

When analyzed separately, the research team found a significant association between c-section and asthma hospitalization in premature infants. However, this wasn't the case when infants were carried to full-term.

News Release, February 2005
Source: American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

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