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Childbirth With Cesarean Section Increases Allergy Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture

Children with allergic parents, who are born by cesarean section are more likely to develop allergic rhinitis and atopy.

A team of researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston followed 432 children from the very birth up to the age of 9. All children had at least one allergic parent. The caregivers were being questioned at least once in two years. When the children were at their average age of 7.4 years, 271 of them underwent allergy skin testings.

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The testings showed that children born by cesarean section are 2.1 times more likely to suffer atopy and 1.8 times more likely to suffer allergic rhinitis than those born by vaginal delivery. However, there was no link between asthma incidence and the way of delivery.

Allergic rhinitis causes discomfort symptoms like 'nasal congestion, sneezing, itching and tearing eyes'. Atopy is not a fully developed disease, but it is the initial level for developing further allergic complications. It stimulates immune system to more aggressively react to foreign environmental proteins. Asthma is mainly associated with symptoms like wheeze.

Although this study did not find a link between cesarean section and asthma, there have been previous researches showing the link. This is probably because of the fact that the number of study participants was very low.

Researchers suggest that allergies are more likely to occur in children born by cesarean section, because these babies are not being exposed to maternal vaginal and fecal flora, which is extremely important for healthy delivery. However, more researchers still need to be conducted to better understand why the link actually exists.