Caesarean link to childhood asthma

Babies born by Caesarean are 80% more likely to develop asthma, according to a new study.

What’s been discovered?

The Swiss study monitored almost 3,000 children for eight years, making it the biggest of its kind, and found that babies born via Caesarean section had a much higher risk of developing asthma as a child than those delivered vaginally.

Why?

The reason for the link is not clear. It’s thought it could be to do with the newborn baby not being exposed to the same microbes it would be if born naturally. These microbes could have an effect on the baby’s immmune system.

Children with parents who both have allergies or asthma were also more likely to get the disease, according to the research.

Are Caesareans on the rise?

This study raises concerns about the number of mothers who are choosing to have Caesareans for non-medical reasons and the risks they could be putting on their children. Some experts claim that increased Caesareans are the reasons for increasing cases of asthma in recent years.

Worldwide, the amount of Caesareans being performed has increased from 5% in the seventies to almost 30% now and it’s been thought this could be down to women feeling ‘too posh too push’, or just too scared.

What do the experts say?

Head of the research, Dr Caroline Roduit, said: ‘The increased rate of Caesarean section is partly due to maternal demand without medical reason.

In this situation the mother should be informed of the risk of asthma for her child, especially when the parents have a history of allergy or asthma.’

If you’re thinking about opting for a Caesarean section, it could be worth considering this information before you go ahead, unless it’s for medical reasons.

Where to next?

Asthma in children
Your story: My Caesarean birth
Expert advice: Caesareans explained
The insider’s guide to labour, birth and recovery