Babies born via cesarean section have twice the chance of being obese by the age of 3, according to a new study published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.
The researchers in the study followed more than 1,200 pregnant women in Boston until their children reached the age of 3. By that time, 15.7 percent of children delivered by C-section were classified as obese, while only 7.5 percent of children delivered vaginally were. While the mother being overweight does increase the chance of having a c-section, researchers factored out maternal obesity and high birth weight from the results.
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So how could C-sections result in weight problems years later? Researchers say more studies are needed but they have a few theories. The lack of bacteria that’s transmitted during a vaginal delivery may affect the absorption of nutrients, leading to obesity later on. Another hypothesis is that hormones and protein signal released during labor may decrease the risk. Others theorize that recovering from a C-section can make breastfeeding, which has been linked with a decrease in obesity, more challenging.
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Did you have a C-section? Are you worried about increased risk of obesity for your child?