A brand-spanking-new study published in JAMA Pediatrics is stating that how you give birth may impact your child's risk of obesity later in life. The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, followed 22,000 young adults over 16 years and found that those born via C-section—because most moms totally have a choice there—have a 15 percent increased risk of being obese later in life than their counterparts who were born via vaginal delivery.
The risk of obesity was further increased for kids born via C-section whose mothers had no medical need for the surgery. This subgroup were 30 percent more likely to be obese between the ages of 9 and 28.
The study also tracked siblings and found that the sibling born via C-section from the same mother was 64 percent more likely to be obese than the one that was delivered vaginally. According to senior researcher Jorge Chavarro, these finding are especially significant in proving the link between C-sections and obesity "because, in the case of siblings, many of the factors that could potentially be playing a role in obesity risk, including genetics, would be largely the same for each sibling—except for the type of delivery."
The results appear to support the growing evidence that there are critically important microorganisms in the mother's birth canal that babies born vaginally travel through, and C-section babies miss. In fact, some doctors are going so far as to perform vaginal seeding—where they swab the woman's vagina and rub the microorganisms inside the baby's mouth and on their body—on C-section deliveries.
Authors of the study are urging pregnant women to think twice before getting a C-section that's not medically necessary. And for those moms who don't have a choice whether for their own health or the health of their unborn child, well, I guess we're all just really unlucky.
While there is some valid evidence to take into consideration from these studies, it's also important to note that if we took every single study to heart, C-section babies are more likely to have a host of every problem under the sun from diabetes to cardiovascular issues.
And as the mother of two perfectly healthy and spirited C-section kids, I'd have to say my study says they're just fine, so let's all just do the best we can and move on with our lives, shall we?