Babies delivered by cesarean section are 5 times as likely to develop allergies when exposed to common allergens as are babies born naturally, according to the results of a study presented on February 24, 2013, at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
The study explored the connection between early exposure to allergens, cesarean section deliveries, and the development of the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE). The authors of the study note that babies delivered by cesarean section may be more susceptible to developing IgE when exposed to allergens, possibly contributing to the development of allergies and asthma.
The researchers evaluated more than 1000 newborns from 2003 to 2007. They collected data from umbilical cords, stool and blood samples, household dust, and household pets, as well as on participants’ family history of allergies and asthma. The babies were first evaluated when they were 1 month old and were examined again at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years of age.
The results of the study support the idea that exposure to bacteria in the birth canal has significant effects on the health and immune systems of babies.