Cesarean deliveries (CD’s) have risen by 48% since 1996, and now account for 32% of all births in the U.S. The trend of elective CD’s continues to increase. While some CD’s are unavoidable, many are scheduled out of convenience for the family or physician. CD’s are associated with negative health outcomes for the baby and there are multiple mechanisms for these outcomes.
Researchers believe Cesarean deliveries can alter an infant’s microbiome by depriving him or her of the beneficial bacteria he or she receives while passing through the birth canal in a vaginal delivery. A compromised microbiome can lead to impaired immunity and metabolic dysregulation.
Several studies have found an association between Cesarean deliveries and autism. One study led by Eileen Curran has found that CD’s increase the risk of autism or autism-related symptoms in a child by as much as 23%.
In another study, researchers found approximately 40% greater risk of developing immune defects and a 10% greater risk of developing juvenile rheumatoid arthritis when born by CD. Additionally, the study shows children are more frequently hospitalized due to asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorder, immune system defects, leukemia, and other tissue disorders.