28 Nov A Dangerous Side Of C-Sections
Moms start planning for their labor and have high hopes to deliver naturally, but some end up with c-sections. Like a breech baby or medical conditions. And there are moms that just want to plan their delivery to the date and opt for a c-section for personal reasons. Whatever the reasoning may be, you need to understand an important aspect that c-sections can do to your child’s health and what you can do about it. We all know the obvious pros & cons with c-sections, but we are going to think a little outside the box today.
From the beginning of time, women naturally gave birth to their babies via the vaginal canal. Pain and all. God bless you ancestors. During the delivery process of a baby via the vaginal canal, the baby gains some new friends on his way out. These new friends are the center of the microbiome. Friendly good bacteria. The vaginal canal is full of this bacteria and the baby gathers all these up to start the foundation of their health – for life.
Hippocrates famously said, “All disease begins in the gut.” The gut is connected to every area of our body, absorption of nutrients occurs there, and it is a main connection from the outside world to our inside. In the Journal of Clinical Perinatology explained it best,
It is estimated that these gut flora have around 100 times as many genes in aggregate as there are in the human genome. The metabolic activities performed by these bacteria resemble those of an organ, leading some to liken gut bacteria to a “forgotten” organ. Microorganisms perform a host of useful functions, such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, and producing vitamins for the host (such as biotin and vitamin K).
Not only is your gut a place where good bacteria lies, but all over your body! In your mouth, skin, vagina, which is why bypassing good bacteria to start your baby’s bacteria colonization can be harmful to your child’s future health. Our microbiome health is SO important in determining our future health. There are studies and reviews that are showing the difference in children that are born naturally versus c-sections.
The Dangerous Side Of A C-Section
Babies that are born via c-section have been shown to hold a different microbiome to babies that are born vaginally. As stated in the European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases,
The fecal bacterial microflora of infants born via caesarean section differed significantly from the gut microflora of those born via the vaginal route.
The same article that was stated above in the Journal of Clinical Perinatology explains the different diseases that can be associated with a distressed microbiome,
These microorganisms are interacting with other modern environmental changes that also lead to enhanced inflammatory responses such as inappropriate diet, obesity, psychological stress, vitamin D deficiency, pollution (dioxins), and perhaps even cesarean delivery. The range of chronic inflammatory disorders that is affected is potentially larger than usually assumed and include allergies, autoimmunity, inflammatory bowel disease, but also vascular disease, some cancers, depression/anxiety and perhaps neurodegenerative disorders and type 2 diabetes.
Another study showed that there was a little increase of allergies and asthma in babies born via c-section. The likelihood of getting celiac disease, which is an autoimmune condition where you negatively react to gluten, is significantly increased when you are born via c-section. A study that was conducted in the Early Human Development showed that babies born via vaginal delivery had increased production of cytokines (proteins that are important for communication for the immune system) and their receptors, which could positively impact the immune system.
Taken from the abstract of a study that showed how the bacteria in infants really differed based on delivery mode,
Our results also show that vaginally delivered infants acquired bacterial communities resembling their own mother’s vaginal microbiota, dominated by Lactobacillus, Prevotella, or Sneathia spp., and C-section infants harbored bacterial communities similar to those found on the skin surface, dominated by Staphylococcus, Corynebacterium, and Propionibacterium spp.
Since c-sections can delay onset of lactation, this can affect the early development of bacteria colonization. Breastfeeding is another important role in colonizing the gut bacteria in infants.
What Can You Do To Avoid A C-Section?
- Be aware of c-section rates in the hospital you plan to give birth. The higher the rate, the more likely you will be recommended to have a c-section.
- Hire a doula.
- Use a doctor that knows the importance of a vaginal delivery versus a doctor who doesn’t.
- Avoid inducing labor unless 100% necessary. This increases your chance for getting a c-section due to your body simply not being ready. Each baby is unique and will eventually come out. Don’t be a in a rush. One thing I’ve learned – not to mess with nature.
- Going to the hospital during early labor can increase your chances of getting a c-section. Laboring the most at home can be an option.
- Epidurals too early in labor can increase your risk of a c-section.
- There are many options outside of hospitals to give birth, look into a home birth or birthing center.
If A C-Section Is The Only Option, What Do You Do?
If an important medical reason to have a c-section comes up and you can’t avoid it, doctors have the ability to place a sterile gauze inside the vaginal canal to get saturated in the bacteria. They pull this gauze out right before the c-section. Once the baby is born, they can wipe the gauze over the baby’s eyes, mouth, skin, everywhere. Studies showed that c-section babies that had this done had a more similar microbiome like babies who are born vaginally.
Probiotics that were given after birth also helped shape the microbiome to look similar to vaginally born babies.
Hope is not lost mama! Becoming an educated parent is one of the best things you can do. And you are in the right place!