Can a c-section baby be more prone to allergies?
Reader asks, "I have 2 children, one by natural delivery and one by c-section. My elder child was born naturally and seems to be less allergic than my child born by c-section. Can a c-section baby be more prone to allergies? What can i do to protect my child?"
There are some studies that show babies delivered by c-section to have an increased incidence of allergies or asthma. One of the hypothesis that doctors think of why there is such an observation is that for babies who are delivered vaginally, they have a chance of acquiring some protective bacteria from the mother’s birth canal. These bacteria that settle down in the gut or intestinal system of the baby and forms the development of the immune system. Our immune system governs both our ability to fight infection, as well as our tendency to have any allergic reactions. Hence such an early opportunity for a baby delivered vaginally to form a healthier immune system helps them to have a reduced chance of developing allergies in later parts of their lives.
Equally, what happens is that breast milk is found to contain beneficial bacteria called probiotics from the mother. And is also shown to reduce the chance of the child developing asthma if they are breastfed. So it is especially important for mothers who have a c section to try to breastfeed their child as long as possible because this will help them to cut down the risk of dev allergies or asthma. With all these beneficial effects of breast milk in mind, I strongly encourage all mothers to at least breastfeed their child for at least 6 months and continue for as long as possible.
Answered by Dr Beh Suan Tiong
Dr Beh Suan Tiong is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in Thomson Medical Centre. He is also accredited by the Members of Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (M.R.C.O.G) in the United Kingdom.