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Study says babies born via C-section are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses.

Don’t freak out.

A new study about birthing methods is doing the rounds and of course it’s making people nervous.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests children born via C-section are more likely to suffer asthma, type-1 diabetes and obesity later in life.

And while this information is understandably concerning for a lot of women, it’s important to note there are a few things this new research hasn’t exactly explored.

Like, for example, how C-sections lead to chronic illnesses.

cesarean babies chronic illness
Babies delivered via c-section are at greater risk of developing chronic illnesses. Image: iStock.

One theory behind the findings is that babies delivered by C-Section aren’t exposed to vaginal bacterias that can protect against disease. But still, the paper concludes by calling for more research.

In Australia, one in three births (32 per cent) are delivered via cesarean section, which is more than double the World Health Organisation’s recommended rate of 15 per cent. C-section rates in Australia are also higher in private hospitals than they are in public.

Read more: Mothers and midwives respond to your biggest fears about childbirth.

One of the lead researchers, Dr Jan Blustein from New York University, hoped the research would lead to important discussions about the rising rate of C-sections.

“The magnitude of risk elevation is small, but even when we are talking about increasing the risk modestly, we still need to talk about it,” Blustein said.

cesarean babies chronic illness
Approximately one in three Australian babies are delivered via cesarean. Image: iStock.
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As one writer from Slate noted, when you look at the facts – and at the reasons why women have C-sections – the research wasn’t surprising and shouldn’t be taken out of of content.

“The discovery that children born via C-section are at an increased risk for health problems is hardly surprising,” science writer Melinda Wenner Moyer wrote.

“Women often have C-sections for medical reasons, such as because they themselves suffer from chronic diseases that make vaginal births risky or impossible.  For example, women with type-2 diabetes are often advised to have C-sections because their babies can grow to be too large to birth vaginally. It makes sense that children born to women with chronic health problems might also be at increased risk for chronic health problems. Other women have C-sections because of pregnancy or labor complications, and those issues may directly affect a baby’s long-term health.”

Then there’s this from Yahoo:

It’s important to note that Bluestein’s paper only looked at studies that show correlation; it doesn’t prove that being born via a cesarean is the cause of the health problems — which may be because less healthy women are more likely to have cesareans in the first place.

So. Is there anything we can learn from this? Yes. It’s that there is more research needed. And that every expectant mother, no matter what their health concerns and no matter what they read on the internet, should talk to their doctors and decide on the best course of action for them.

What was your experience with childbirth?

Related content:

Meet the mother who delivered her own twins via c-section.

The right to a cesarean – should every woman have it?

Why millions of strangers are watching people give birth on YouTube.

The 7 couples you meet in birthing class.