New research, carried out by the Boston Children’s Hospital in the US, has revealed that babies born by caesarean section are twice as likely to become obese as children who have natural deliveries.
The study followed 1,225 mums and babies over three years, weighing them and measuring the babies’ body fat. They found that almost 16% of C-section babies were obese by the age of 3, while only 7.5 of the babies who were born naturally were.
Researchers believe that babes who are born surgically are not exposed to certain bacteria that can boost the body’s metabolism. Obese adults have been found to have less of this friendly bacteria and more bad bacteria, which means they burn fewer calories and put on weight more easily.
Almost 25% of births are now by C-section in England – and 7% of the C-sections carried out on the NHS occur for no medical reason. Sue MacDonald from the Royal College of Midwives commented on these results saying: ‘This highlights the need to avoid caesareans that are not medically needed.’