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C-section Delivery Really Not Linked to Elevated Risk of Food Allergy During Infancy

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A new study has found that having a Caesarean birth, also known as C-section or caesarean delivery is not linked to a higher risk of food allergies in the first year of life.

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) led the study, which was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In practice, it was discovered that caesarean delivery, whether with or without labor, elective or emergency, has no effect on the likelihood of food allergy at 12 months of age when compared to vaginal birth.

The link between mode of birth and the likelihood of food allergy has remained unclear previous to this study, according to Murdoch Children’s Associate Professor Rachel Peters, due to a dearth of studies tying accurate food challenge outcomes to thorough information on the kind of caesarean delivery.

The HealthNuts study included 2045 newborns, with data from the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection used to gather precise information on birth circumstances.

According to the study, 12.7 percent of those born by caesarean had a food allergy, compared to 13.2 percent of those born vaginally.

“We found no meaningful differences in food allergy for infants born by caesarean delivery compared to those born by vaginal delivery,” said the authors of the study, “Additionally, there was no difference in likelihood of food allergy if the caesarean was performed before or after the onset of labour, or whether it was an emergency or elective caesarean.”

A possible link between caesarean birth and allergies, according to the study authors, could be due to changes in early microbial exposure (bacteria from the mother’s vagina) during delivery.

“The infant immune system undergoes rapid development during the neonatal period,” she added.

The mode of distribution may interfere with the immune system’s natural development. Babies born by caesarean have reduced exposure to germs from the mother’s stomach and vaginal area, which affects the microbiome makeup and immune system development of the child. However, it does not appear that this is a significant factor in the development of food allergies.

The findings, according to the study, will guide caregivers in weighing the risks and advantages of caesarean delivery and provide confidence to moms who require such operations that their infant is unlikely to develop a food allergy.

Image Credit: Getty

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