Babies born by Caesarean are twice as likely to be obese later in life, claims new research.
According to the Archive of Disease in Childhood, nearly 16% of babies born by C-section were classed as obese by the time they reached their third birthday compared to 7.5% of children born naturally (vaginal birth).
Although the study does little to investigate the reasons behind the link, they speculate that it could be down to the composition of gut bacteria picked up during the C-section birth.
Studies have found that children born by Caesarean delivery have higher numbers of Firmicutes bacteria. Other research found that obese people have higher levels of the same bacteria in their guts.
Researchers from the recent study investigated the birth records of 1,255 mother and child pairs in eastern Massachusetts between 1999 and 2002.
One in four of the children was born by Caesarean section. They were all measured and weighed at birth, six months and three years.
"An association between Caesarean birth and increased risk of childhood obesity would provide an important rationale to avoid non-medically indicated Caesarean section," write the authors.
"Expectant mothers choosing Caesarean delivery in the absence of an obstetrical or medical indication should be aware that their children may have a higher risk of obesity."
Take a look at other pregnancy-related stories that have hit the headlines recently...
Danger of Tokophobia
A debilitating phobia of pregnancy and childbirth left an already bereaved mother with no choice other than to abort her second baby. Tokophobia affects up to one in ten women, with some so fearful they liken maternity wards to torture chambers. Charlotte Arnold suffered so badly, she ended up aborting her second child because she was too scared to continue with the pregnancy. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/28/tokophobia-the-debilitating-fear-pregnancy-birt-charlotte-arnold-abort-baby_n_2203223.html">here</a>.
Dieting In Pregnancy Could Be Beneficial
The common belief that pregnant women can eat for two has been scotched by research suggesting dieting during pregnancy can be beneficial. Experts found that weight management was not only safe but could also reduce complications for pregnant women and be advantageous to the baby. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/17/health-dieting-during-pregnancy-good_n_1523676.html" target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story here</strong></a>.
Flu Shot In Pregnancy Prevents Stillbirth Risk
Canadian research has revealed that mothers who have flu shots during pregnancy reap unexpected health rewards for their babies. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/22/health-flu-shot-prevent-stillborn-baby_n_1535929.html?ref=uk-parenting " target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story here</strong></a>.
Do You Think It's Safe To Jog While Pregnant?
When six-month pregnant Jenny Wright was called a 'selfish cow' while out for a run in Leeds' Roundhay Park, she assumed she'd misheard. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/14/health-selfish-cow-jogging-mum-baby_n_1514920.html?ref=uk-parenting" target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story here</strong></a>.
Pregnant Dieters More Likely To Have An Obese Child
Women who fall pregnant while dieting are more likely to have a child that could become obese or diabetic in later life, new research suggests. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/02/pregnant-diet-obese-baby-unborn-baby-diabetes-pill_n_1396151.html?ref=uk-parenting" target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story here</strong></a>.
Why Women Take Two Hours Longer To Give Birth Than Their Grandmothers
Pregnant women are spending more time in labour now than 50 years ago, a recent study has discovered. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/04/02/women-take-longer-to-give-birth-than-50-years-ago_n_1396373.html?ref=uk-parenting" target="_hplink"><strong>Read the full story here</strong></a>.
1000 Photo Pregnancy Is YouTube Hit
Most women probably wish they could get their nine months of pregnancy in four minutes - even if it would leave only a few seconds to decorate the nursery, but at least morning sickness is over in a millisecond. Osher Grencel's pregnancy appears to be happening at the speed of light as husband Tomer took more than 1000 photographs of her in comfy tracksuit bottoms and a white crop top as her pregnant belly grows, morning sickness passes and cribs and prams bought. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/25/osher-tomer-grencel-pregnancy_n_2188063.html">here</a>.
Eating Unhealthy Food Linked To Lower Birth Weight
Eating chips during pregnancy can lead to significant health problems for new born babies, research suggests. Consuming a vast quantity of chips, crisps and biscuits during pregnancy can lead to babies having a lower than average birth weight, the study found. Mothers-to-be who have a high intake of acrylamide - which is found in commonly consumed foods and coffee - are also more likely to have a baby which has a smaller head circumference. Read more <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/23/unhealthy-food-chips-lower-birth-rate-babies_n_2004643.html">here</a>.