From what they eat to how they exercise, expecting mothers have so many decisions to make that could affect their future children's lives in one way or another. And now, a September 2016 study published in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that even the way you deliver your baby can play a major role in his or her health for years to come.
Harvard researchers analyzed data from the Growing Up Today Study, which included more than 22,000 participants; the study took place between 1996 and 2012, and asked participants questions every year or every two years. The researchers aimed to figure out the connection between delivery — whether vaginal or cesarean — and obesity throughout life.
The analysis showed that people who were born via C-section were 15 percent more likely to become obese as children, teens, and young adults. They also showed that C-section babies were 64 percent more likely to become obese than their siblings who were born vaginally. What's more, if a mom had a C-section first, and then another baby, the second child was 31 percent less likely to be obese if he or she was born vaginally. The sibling results are especially important because a mother's health and genetics are likely to be similar between births, so researchers can pinpoint how delivery affects the children's later health.
Why the connection? Scientists think that the birth canal contains essential bacteria that can boost an infant's health. Expectant moms shouldn't worry too much if their doctor says they need a cesarean, but the researchers urge parents to reconsider if a C-section isn't medically necessary. The Los Angeles Times notes that C-section babies in this study had an even higher risk of obesity if their mothers didn't have a medical need for the procedure.
To read the rest of the article from Redbook, click here!
>> Read more: This Pediatrician's Trick To Calming Babies Is Amazing