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Cesarean section prevents babies from getting good bacteria for the mother’s immune system, according to a study


Scientists from the Center for Systemic Biomedicine in Luxembourg have shown that during natural vaginal delivery, specific bacteria in the mother’s intestines are passed on to the child and stimulate their immune responses. However, this phenomenon does not occur in children born at caesarean section.

“This may explain why epidemiologically babies born by caesarean section suffer from more chronic diseases associated with the immune system than babies born vaginally,” explains Paul Wilmes, head of research published in Nature Communications magazine.

People are born without germs. However, birth is usually the time when vital bacteria begin to colonize the body, including the intestines, skin and lungs. Researchers have long suspected that this early colonization sets the line for later health. However, as was done in this study, it may be that a cesarean section prevents the transmission of certain bacteria, which usually interact with the baby’s immune system, from mother to newborn.

Wilmes, along with colleagues from Sweden and other researchers from Luxembourg, found the first evidence of this fact in a study of newborns, half of which were born by cesarean section. "We find specific bacterial substances that stimulate the immune system in babies born vaginally." In contrast, immunological stimulation in children with cesarean section is much lower, because bacterial triggers are present at much lower levels or other bacterial substances they interfere with this initial immunity, ”explains the researcher.

This combination of bacterial colonizing immune system, along with other factors, may explain why children with cesarean section are statistically more likely to develop allergies, chronic inflammatory diseases, and metabolic diseases. “It’s possible that these children's immune systems change from the very beginning,” says Paul Wilmes.

Now researchers want to continue researching this link and find ways to replace the missing maternal bacterial strains in babies born by caesarean section, for example, by introducing probiotics. "It is already clear that we should not interfere very much in the process of childbirth, babies should be delivered only to cesarean when it is necessary for medicines." We need to know that in doing so, we seem to actively intervene in the natural interactions between humans and bacteria, "he concludes.

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