Sunday, February 15, 2009

C-section Increases Asthma Risk

According to a study recently published in Thorax, children born by caesarean section have a higher risk of asthma than those born by vaginal delivery, particularly children of allergic parents. The odds of having a diagnosis of asthma at 8 years of age was almost 1.8 times higher for children born by C-section than for children born by vaginal delivery.

A proposed reason for this association is that babies who do not pass through the birth canal on their way into the world take longer to become colonized with the usual bacteria- or that, in essence, they are too clean. :) The bacteria are thought to keep the immune system geared in a non-allergic direction, and when you don't have the right balance of bacteria, your risk of allergic disease (like asthma) increases. This is the crux of the so-called "hygeine hypothesis", which seems to be garnering more and more support as the evidence accumulates.

Guess who has two C-section babies? No asthma yet, but son #2 has wheezed a few times already... makes one wonder, will probiotic supplementation reverse the risk in these squeaky clean kiddos? I'll expound on this issue in a future post...

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