Can “Seeding” and Studies Help Give C-Section Babies a Better Start?
I am fascinated by the process of how much an impact birth has on a baby's development and growth.
For example, some mothers have taken to introducing the flora from their, um, lady parts in c-section babies by literally swabbing their babies' mouths with their vaginal secretions. The thought is that there is important good bacteria that the babies get from passing through the birth canal in a vaginal birth and that it's beneficial to pass those bacteria on to c-section babies.
Obviously, some babies are meant to come into the world via c-section, just like some babies come into the world vaginally, and there is no shame or harm in that. It's actually a miracle, in my book, because how incredible is it that we live in a world where we can save lives with a procedure that many of us don't even think twice about?
But it's also interesting to take a closer look at how we come into the world affects our development and, more specifically, our brains.
A new study is one of the first of its kind to look specifically at how (and if) a c-section changes your baby's brain.
The researchers looked specifically at brain activity by studying eye movement in babies born vaginally vs. babies born via c-section. They found the reflexive eye movement of babies born by c-section was actually slower than babies born vaginally, although they really weren't sure why, nor were they sure if that brain change that led to the movement and eye reflex would last into adulthood, too. Another test with 12 babies found a decrease in babies' attention and concentration when stimulus was presented on two sides of a monitor. Researchers speculated that there is some kind of spatial processing factor that changed as a result of a c-section that led to the differences in the two groups of babies.
Although the changes they found were reflex-driven (which meant the babies had no real control over it), they found no difference in conscious, voluntary attention of babies born via c-section, so that's reassuring news.
But still, more research needs to be done on what types of changes c-section specifically have on babies development at birth so that when a c-section is necessary parents can be sure to take steps to give all babies, regardless of how they enter the world, the best start possible into life.