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C-sections increase allergy risk

Caesarean birth significantly raises a baby's future risk of allergies, new research has discovered.

Compared to a natural birth, those born by C-section are five times more likely to become allergic to everyday stimulants including dust mites and domestic animals, the study showed.

Caesarean birth significantly raises a baby's future risk of allergies, new research has discovered.

Compared to a natural birth, those born by C-section are five times more likely to become allergic to everyday stimulants including dust mites and domestic animals, the study showed.

Experts think the infants are more prone to allergies due to having bypassed the birth cabal which contains their mother's bacteria.

The findings back up the "hygiene hypothesis" which connects allergies in infancy to an over-sanitary environment as a newborn.

Lead researcher Dr Christine Cole Johnson, from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, US, said: "This further advances the hygiene hypothesis that early childhood exposure to micro-organisms affects the immune system's development and onset of allergies.

"We believe a baby's exposure to bacteria in the birth canal is a major influencer on their immune system."

The scientists examined 1,258 newborn babies and followed this with repeat examinations at one month, six months, one year and two years old.

At age two, a higher number of C-section infants were allergic to common household triggers including dust mite excretions and dead skin. 

The umbilical cord and stools of each infant were studied, alongside blood samples from mothers and fathers, breast milk and common dust from the home.

Families were also asked about their history of allergy or asthma, domestic animals, smoking habits, their baby's health, use of medicines, and experiences of pregnancy.

The study was featured in the yearly meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology  in San Antonio, Texas.

Some 50% of all children and teenagers in Britain have developed allergies by the age of 18.

Every year, allergies in Britain rise by 5%, with half of these cases in children.

Around 21 million British adults have one or more allergies. Ten per cent of children and adults under the age of 45 have a minimum of two allergies.

For more information visit our Pregnancy and Childcare Centre or our Allergies Centre.

Copyright Press Association 2013

 


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