Why moms' birthing choices matter

Allergy, Genes and Environment Network – AllerGen (NCE)


Caesareans are a costly delivery option for hospitals that could also put babies at higher risk of illness later in life. A 2013 study, using data and fecal samples from the AllerGen-funded Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, found that C-sections and not drinking enough breast milk may deprive babies of the healthy gut bacteria needed to fight off asthma, allergies and other lifelong diseases. The research can trace its roots to a 2006 AllerGen event where University of Alberta epidemiologist Dr. Anita Kozyrskyj met Dr. James Scott, an expert in microbiology and DNA sequencing at the University of Toronto. Their discussion planted the seeds for this ground breaking collaboration, which could influence health policies throughout Canada and internationally.

We want parents and physicians to realize that the decisions they make regarding C-sections and breastfeeding can affect the infants’ gut bacteria—and that can have potentially lifelong effects on their children. Dr. Meghan Azad, AllerGen Trainee, University of Alberta
These issues are of direct relevance to pregnant women and health practitioners and should be considered when choices such as elective caesarean delivery and other interventions are discussed.Dr. Rob Knight, Professor, BioFrontiers Institute, University of Colorado