New Study Suggests that Even Some Labor is Beneficial for Moms
There are a lot of studies out there floating around about the changes that can happen for a baby with scheduled C-sections. Some studies have found that C-sections can change a baby's gut bacteria and even affect their brains.
Overall, C-sections get kind of a bad reputation and can be a source of worry for mothers, who may wonder if their babies will be at risk simply because of the way they came into the world.
But a new study has found that C-sections are not all created equal. The study, which lasted 15 long years and looked at all different types of babies for the long-term effects that their births had on them, was really a groundbreaking one.
And they found, rather surprisingly, that babies who arrived via emergency C-sections were actually healthier than babies born via planned C-sections. One would think that emergency C-section babies would have more complications since, you know, it was an emergency that led to the surgery, but the study actually revealed that the opposite was true. The reason, doctors figured out, is that because some kind of labor, no matter how brief, actually has benefits for the baby. Labor is healthy? Who would have guessed?
The final results of the study found that babies born via planned C-sections (that were not emergency situations) were at a “small absolute increased” risk of asthma that led to hospitalizations and other health issues by the age of 21. Scary stuff, I know. In fact, there really wasn't any more risk to having an unscheduled C-section versus a planned C-section; the risk, it seems, is higher with a planned C-section. Doctors aren't totally sure why, but they think that something about the bacteria exposure that happens with labor and gets transferred to the baby helps prime the baby's immune system to work.
But the study did find that there weren't any real differences to babies born vaginally or by C-section, either planned or emergency in the following areas of health: obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, or cancer. Better news.
So what does this mean?
Well, first of all, it could mean that you don't need to fear emergency C-sections specifically in terms of long-term health risks for your little one. It also means if you're on the fence of deciding on a planned C-section or attempting labor, such as in situations for a VBAC, you may want to talk to your care provider about the possible benefits of going through labor because the data is suggesting that even some length of labor could be beneficial for your baby.