For the longest time, new Moms delivering their babies via C-section was an atypical thing. It was mostly warranted in cases when the health of an infant, parent or both was at risk.
Over the past 20 years, however, C-section delivery rates have soared, nearly doubling to almost 30 million annually, amounting to 21 percent of all births worldwide.
After peaking a decade ago, C-section births in America are on the rise again at 32 percent. This procedure remains very high among older women (age 40 and over), according to the CDC.
Nevertheless, the decision to deliver your baby via C-section — even as common as they are — comes with risks as we’ve seen time and again, especially if obesity plays a factor.
C-section babies may also have altered gut microbiomes that could leave them more vulnerable to respiratory infections in their first year, according to the results of research presented at the recent European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Scientists monitored the health of 46 babies delivered via C-Section and 74 babies delivered vaginally over their first year of life by collecting and analyzing fecal samples.
Interestingly, antibiotics weren’t given to new Moms after their deliveries until the umbilical cords were clamped, meaning these gut-altering drugs weren’t a factor in the health of their babies. (Researchers also collected and tested fecal samples from these new Moms two weeks after their deliveries too.)
No surprise, the differences in the composition of gut bacteria between babies delivered naturally versus C-section were very obvious, particularly shortly after birth.
- The gut microbiota of C-section babies was less stable during their first year.
- The development of the health-promoting Bifidobacterium species among C-section babies was delayed.
- C-section babies had higher levels of potentially bad gut bacteria and more problems with respiratory infections.
- Babies delivered vaginally had the extra advantage of measurable seeding from their Moms.
What to do if…
If you’re a soon-to-be Mom and a C-section is definitely in your future, what you can do to give your baby a gut-friendly start in his/her life?
For starters, you can do the right thing by breastfeeding your baby which gives your baby a good mix of natural proteins, vitamins and fats, plus antibodies that help their developing immune systems.
(Helping your baby’s gut develop naturally is one of the 18 benefits of breastfeeding!)
Unfortunately, what happens if you’re unable to breastfeed for as long as you wanted or health problems make it impossible?
New Moms may want to take the healthy step — with expert guidance from their doctor or pediatrician — to give their babies an infant probiotic.
EndoMune Jr. Advanced Probiotic Powder contains 10 billion CFUs and four key strains of beneficial bacteria plus FOS (a prebiotic that feeds the bugs in a baby’s developing gut) that be sprinkled on foods or added to their formulas.
As you travel on this new adventure to become a Mom — for the first time or the next time — being equipped with all of the information you need to make this excursion a safe and healthy one for you and your baby is critical.
Protecting your baby’s gut health is an important part of getting there.