Previous research has shown that children born by caesarian section are more likely to develop asthma. Researchers from Denmark (The Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma In Childhood) have provided us with an explanation as to why this is:
Every generation of mothers hands over its microbiome to the next. As the baby squeezes through the birth canal, the baby is coated with beneficial germs. This does not happen in a baby born by caesarian section, and these babies take a while to develop a healthy microbiome. While the immune system is developing, they may become more at risk for developing certain diseases such as asthma.
However, the researchers also noted that if the baby’s microbiome matures sufficiently before 1 year of age, this can normalize the asthma risk. This is good news!
Aiding the development of a healthy microbiome in a baby can occur through:
- Plenty of skin to skin contact
- Breast feeding
- Spending time outdoors with the little one
- Contact with household pets
- Interaction with environmental “dirt”
- With the use of oral probiotics (healthy bacteria) and prebiotics (complex sugars which allow healthy bacteria to thrive): however, the exact dose and strains remain to be determined.
- Eating a varied diet once solids are introduced in the first year of life
In conclusion, whilst children born by C-section are more likely to develop asthma, the risk can be averted by developing healthy gut bacteria in the first year of life.
Publication: Jakob Stokholm et al. Delivery mode and gut microbial changes correlate with an increased risk of childhood asthma. Science Translational Medicine 2020