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Possible Link Between Childhood Obesity and Cesarean Birth

Women who think of having their babies through a cesarean section rather than natural birth just to avoid going through labor might want to reconsider. A newly released cohort study finds that there is a more likely chance of a child born by cesarean rather than vaginally being obese.

The study included the comparison of cesarean born children who had vaginally born siblings. It was found that the cesarean born child was 64% more likely to be obese than their vaginally born siblings. It appears that it makes some difference in the birth order as well. Children born vaginally before the cesarean born child were less likely to be obese than vaginally born children born after the cesarean born child. All of the vaginally born children showed a lower risk of obesity than the cesarean born child, however. The children were followed through ages from 20 to 28.

The study included 22,068 children, of which 4921 were born by cesarean. The number of mothers involved in the study totaled 15,271. The highest number of cesarean births occurred between the years 1985 and 1989. After that, the number of cesarean births dropped. Previous research on this subject also suggested a link between cesarean birth and obesity but the findings were ultimately inconclusive. This study seems to confirm a link and the report was published in the September 6, 2016 JAMA Pediatrics online edition.

In light of this study, pregnant women should consider cesarean birth only when it is medically and obstetrically necessary. Though there are many other reasons to reserve cesarean sections as a birthing option for only those times when it is necessary, this study adds another reason to avoid it if possible. It isn’t worth the possibility of your child being obese for much the their life.

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