Are C-Sections Making Babies Sick?

A third of all infants in the U.S. are born through this invasive surgery.

More babies are being born via cesarean sections than ever before. 

While it can be a lifesaving procedure for difficult or high-risk births, many c-sections are now scheduled out of convenience, partly due to busy schedules and strict maternity leave policies. 

While it's ultimately between a woman and her doctor to decide, there are some important points to consider. 

But in the U.S., nearly 33% of all infants are born through this invasive surgery, more than double what the World Health Organization deems appropriate.  On top of the estimated $2.2 billion in additional medical fees incurred from unnecessary c-sections, emerging research suggests that a non-vaginal birth causes newborns to miss out on exposure to bacteria that will influence their health throughout their entire life. 

A person's microbiota is the complete collection of microbes present in the gut, skin, mouth, eyes, and genitals. Some of these microbes help break down food during digestion. 

New research suggests that unbalanced microbiota can be a source of chronic diseases like obesity, asthma, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Mental health can also be affected by off-kilter gut microbes.

When passing through the birth canal, babies are exposed to their mother's microbes, which help these important microbial colonies develop.

So what does this mean for babies born via c-section? 

Check out this explanation from DNews:

Cover image: Shutterstock