A new study released by the University of Melbourne has sent parents into a panic after it was announced this week that babies born via caesarean are more likely to be developmentally delayed later in life than those delivered via natural birth.
But what does the research actually say and how worried should you really be by it all?
According to the study’s primary researcher, Dr Cain Polidano, the major discovery to come from the research is that Australian babies born via c-section show developmental delays in areas of grammar, numeracy, reading and writing to those babies born via natural births later in life, which sounds scary and can be cause for concern upon first hearing.
In processing this information, though, there are a number important things to take note of.
The number of people included in the research
Firstly, the findings in the study come from analysing the NAPLAN results of 5,000 students in Year 3. And in terms of participants used in a study, that's a large number, but it's also an iota of the 19 per cent of Australians that are aged between 0 to 14. Polidano best explained this when he told the ABC, "The findings are relatively small but significant."
The greatness of the gap
Upon hearing the words 'c-section' and 'developmental delays' it's understandable that panic would set in. But before you start worrying about the future of your child and look into hiring a private tutor, know this: the delay measured between vaginal born and caesarian babies was the equivalent of 35 school days' worth - a month - of education.
And while that's nothing to scoff at, it's also a separation that can be managed relatively easily and has the potential to be bridged in later years.
The finality of the research
Like most research, the findings from this study are ongoing, with Polidano himself admitting, "We've still got a lot more work to do".