Mothers who opt to have a caesarean delivery may find that doing so increases the possibility of their children having health problems later in life. According to a recent study from Harvard University and The Boston Children’s Hospital in the US, babies who are delivered via caesarean may have double the risk of becoming obese.

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Studying more than 1,200 infants, researchers found that 16 percent of those who were born via caesarean were already clinically obese by age three compared to the 8 percent who were delivered normally. They also had a higher body mass index and skin fold thickness.

At this point, no universal explanation for the discrepancy has been found, but some researchers believe that babies born through caesarean delivery lack good bacteria supposedly found in their mothers’ vaginal walls. According to Dr. Simon Campbell, a gasteroenterologist at the Spire Hospital Manchester and the Manchester Royal Infirmary contacted by Dailymail.co.uk, a separate study also shows that women who have caesarean deliveries are less likely to breastfeed, which could contribute to the babies' obesity.

While the numbers are small, experts in the field aren’t discounting the data. "For the small amount of women we see who request a caesarean for reasons other than medical ones, findings such as these are certainly something we should let them know about," Patrick O’Brien, an obstetrician and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told Dailymail.co.uk.


(Photo by Illusive Photography via Flickr Creative Commons)

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