Cesarean delivery — otherwise called a C-section — is a surgical procedure to deliver the baby, if the natural delivery is deemed either to be impossible or complicated due to several factors like wrongly positioned baby, health issues with the mother, placental issues, etc. The baby is delivered through incisions put in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. If there are no complications with your pregnancy, a vaginal birth is always safer than a cesarean birth. C-section certainly has an impact on the mother and child, which could be short term or long term.
Presently, some studies have found that infants delivered by C-section experience or increase the risk of several chronic health problems later in life.
What Marks The Basic Difference Between Babies Born Vaginally Or Through C-Section?
The increased stress levels, in the course of a vaginal delivery, has a positive effect on the child. These stresses eventually activate the defense mechanism of the baby, preparing the child to expose to the life outside the uterus. This activation of the defense mechanism will not happen in the course of a C-section. This can be the basic reason behind the health issues, which mark the difference between children born via C-section and the children born vaginally.
What Makes C-section Babies More Susceptible To Develop Immunological Diseases?
The DNA pool in the WBC of the child, who born via C-section can be subject to certain changes, associated with the changes in the stress level explained above. These genetic changes can be the reason behind making the child born via C-section an easy target for developing immunological diseases such as diabetes and asthma later in their lives.
How Does A C-section Affect The Baby?
While C-section is a lifesaving method at times, it can put the baby in a complication that may have a lifelong effect. Some of the effects (even if not all of them, your child may be at a risk of receiving some of them) of a C-section on the baby include:
- Under-developed immune system: During a vaginal delivery, the baby is exposed to the friendly bacteria of the mother in the birth canal. These bacteria colonize in the bowel of the baby helps in increasing the immunity of the child. Babies born via C-section, especially during an emergency (like losing amniotic fluid due to the rupture of the sac), get less opportunity to get exposed to these bacteria. This affects the long term health of the baby
- Breathing issues: The risks of breathing issues are far more pronounced among the children born via C-section. This is due to several factors:
- Lack of contractions during labor: It is usually the contractions during the labor, which prepare the lungs of the baby to breathe independently after the delivery. The babies born through a scheduled C-section, that is, a C-section performed before the labor starts, are more likely to subjected to a difficulty to breathe on their own initially since their lungs lack breathing practice
- Transient tachypnea: Otherwise called “wet lungs” is a condition characterized abnormally fast and labored breathing of the child during the first few days. This happens to the children born through C-section, where the fluid fills the lungs of the baby (when the baby was inside the womb) is not completely expelled. (During vaginal birth, the contractions help to discharge it naturally)
- Pulmonary hypertension: This is a potentially life-threatening condition, which is found to occur four times higher among the children born via C-section. Normally the blood vessels in the lungs of the baby relax during birth, increasing the flow of the blood through it, to increase the intake of oxygen in exchange with the carbon dioxide. However, the blood vessels of the lungs of children born through C-section, for some reason, will not relax, thus, increasing the level of carbon dioxide and decreasing the level of oxygen in the blood. This can lead to brain and organ damage of the child
- Respiratory distress syndrome: This happens if the C-section is performed before the 39th week of gestation, during which the lungs of the child is not fully matured
- Delayed breast feeding: Even after C-section, the baby has a second chance to expose to these friendly bacteria. This is when they immediately breastfed after delivery. Colostrum, the first milk, has these bacterial strains in abundance, which help with the immunity. However, the use of medications and anesthesia affect the behavior of the mother and the infant, leading to a delay in breastfeeding. Babies delivered through C-section if formula fed, possess a higher risk of health issues, as they are totally missing this natural immunity
- Increased risk of asthma: The common asthma rate is 8.4 percent, which hops to 9.5 percent among those delivered through C-section. Some studies conducted in Netherlands have established a close connection between babies delivered by C-sections and incidences of asthma
- Less concentration: The birth experience is found to have an impact, somehow, on the working of the brain. A study conducted concluded that babies born via a cesarean can affect the spatial attention of the child, affecting atleast one form of baby’s ability to concentrate
- Obesity: The obesity rates among children delivered vaginally are found to be around 16 percent. Whereas, the obesity rate gets elevated to 19 percent among the children delivered through C-section. The risk of type 1 diabetes is found to be dramatically increased to 20% (in future) among the babies born via C-section
- Missing on skin to skin: Research has it that when a baby is placed on the mother’s abdomen just after birth, it has a positive effect on both the mother and the baby. The benefits of an undisturbed first hour after birth are immense, as it lets the baby’s natural survival instincts kick-in, and both the mother and the baby draw comfort and relaxation from each other
- Surgical injuries: Although very rare, surgical injuries can happen to the skin of the babies while performing a C-section (surgical laceration). The chances increase to 15% if:
- The surgeon is less experienced
- The membrane ruptured before a C – section
- The Emergency C-section associated with active labor
C-division may be essential when vaginal birth is unsafe for both mother and baby. Nonetheless, a C-section can bring about critical issues for the child when performed without a therapeutic need, when the mother (fearing the pain of natural birth) suggests it or doctor prefer it (financial interest) due to personal interest. On the off chance that you feel that your doctor is urging you to have a C – section without a valid reason, you are always free to go for the second opinion.