We all know that C-Section rates are on the rise all around the globe, but especially so in the United States. The World Health Organization expresses grave concern over the steadily increasing numbers of C-Sections, especially in those that are elective or unnecessary. They say that we are far exceeded the healthy limitations and that C-Sections should make up no more than 10-15% of all deliveries. In the US, nearly 1/3 of all women deliver via C-Section, and at least half of them do so by choice rather than necessity.
Experts say is a societal trend that could potentially have very dangerous long term implications. Most women, who elect for surgery, say that they do so because they fear the pain associated with natural labor and delivery. Many say that there were simply offered the choice by the physician and they opted in. Others simply wanted to be able to plan for an exact due date. Whatever the reasons, researchers say that most women are not well informed about their decision. They usually don’t understand the possible implications of the major abdominal surgery, and they often believe that a planned, surgical delivery is safer than vaginal delivery.
In some cases, C-Sections are absolutely necessary and life-saving and done with good reason. And indeed; even in elective surgeries, women reserve the right to make their own choice. But, critics often ponder if so many mothers would still make the same choice if they were better informed. Once armed with scientific knowledge and decades of research that shows the negative effects a C-Section has on an infant, many women might be quick to reconsider. They might have meaningful reasons not to choose a C-Section when it has not been deemed medically necessary.
OFFSPRING MIGHT BE MORE PRONE TO A C-SECTION, TOO
According to a small group of researchers from Austria and the USA, large numbers of women having C-Sections over a long period of time may influence the evolution of our offspring. Along with rise in delivery by C-section, scientists have noticed a change in human offspring: babies with larger heads. The study speculates that this adaptation would not have been likely through natural birthing methods. The way it works is that a woman’s birth canal is designed to host a baby (and its smaller head) that is deliverable through the vagina, as nature intended.
Prior to C-sections, babies with heads too large that were unable to be delivered by natural means would not survive in many circumstances. Whether the baby died in utero or during labor and delivery, the genetics that influenced a larger than normal head would stop there. When offspring with the trait does not reproduce, the trait becomes eliminated or altered until a better version is available. But, scientists say that since we are interfering with nature via surgical delivery, we are preventing our species to eliminate this particular birth complication.
In other words, high numbers of C-sections, mean higher numbers of babies are being born that survive birth when they would not have otherwise. Too many babies that artificially past the birth test give rise to traits in our offspring that would have been eliminated by nature. Babies with larger than appropriate head sizes will likely pass on the message that this trait is okay and future generations will continue to have babies with heads that are too large to pass through the birth canal. What this could mean for the future is one of 2 things. 1) Future generations of humans might find it impossible to have a baby by vaginal delivery and will only being able to successfully deliver via C-section. Or 2) A higher number of late term miscarriages, stillbirths, and fetal death during labor and delivery due to babies that have head too large to fit through the birth canal.
THE BABY IS HIGHER RISK FOR OBESITY
There have now been many, many studies that link babies delivered by C-section with increased risk for obesity at any time in their life. Such babies are 15% more like than babies born vaginally, to struggle with being overweight into adulthood. Babies born via C-section compared to their siblings, who were born vaginally, are 64% more likely than their natural born brothers and sisters to be overweight.
The information provided is a result of research that studied the effects of C-sections on newborns for 16 years. Although being born to an obese mother though C-section is a factor for determining what causes obesity in offspring, it is not the sole defining factor. New studies are showing that babies who not delivered vaginally lack exposure to certain microbiomes in the birth canal that could cause trouble with metabolism and intestinal health, potentially making C-section babies more prone to having weight issues.