Stress from Cesarean sections may alter DNA


Swedish researches are now saying that babies delivered by c-section may experience changes to the DNA of white blood cells. This could explain why they're at increased risk for immunological diseases such as diabetes and asthma later in life.

"Delivery by C-section has been associated with increased allergy, diabetes and leukaemia risks," said Dr Mikael Norman, a paediatric specialist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. "Although the underlying cause is unknown, our theory is that altered birth conditions could cause a genetic imprint in the immune cells that could play a role later in life."

Norman and his colleagues analysed blood samples from 37 infants taken just after delivery and samples taken three to five days after birth. The blood was analysed to assess the degree of DNA-methylation in the white blood cells, which are a key part of the immune system. In DNA-methylation, DNA is chemically modified to activate or turn off genes in response to changes in the external environment.

The 16 infants born by C-section had higher DNA-methylation rates immediately after delivery than the 21 infants born by vaginal delivery, according to the report, in Acta Paediatrica. Three to five days after birth, both groups of infants had similar levels of DNA-methylation.

More research is needed to determine why babies born by caesarian section have higher DNA-methylation rates after delivery.

"When babies are delivered by C-section, they are unprepared for the birth and can become more stressed after delivery than before. This is different [from] a normal vaginal delivery, where the stress gradually builds up before the actual birth, helping the baby to start breathing and quickly adapt to the new environment outside the womb."



Inkling said...

What does this mean for a mama who was so badly injured by the poor decisions made by the midwife and the Ob that she will need a c-section if she wants to have more children? (Of course, she first has to be healed enough to even be able to conceive, and that is still unknown at this point.) We're talking fourth degree tear with severe complications - abscess, hematoma, infections, incontinence, three surgeries (and counting!), scar tissue that obscures a view of the cervix (and prevents sex), etc. Oh, and you can add advanced maternal age to that lovely list.

Post a Comment