Babies born by caesarean ‘are calmer’

Thursday, November 4, 2010

LONDON - A Chinese research has revealed that babies born by caesarean are calmer and more peaceful as compared to babies born normally.

Researchers said that babies who are born through a difficult birth involving forceps or a suction cup are more likely to develop behavioural problems than those born through caesarean section, reports the Daily Mail.

The study reinforces previous findings that assisted delivery techniques produce high levels of stress hormones that may affect development.

Children born after a caesarean requested by their mother were found to show fewer problems like anxiety, aggression, attention disorders behavioral, and emotional problems.

The researchers assessed 4,190 children from south-east China, aged 4-6 and observed the links between birthing methods and child behaviour.

In the study, the parents were asked to describe the behaviour of their children.

The result showed that those born with the help of forceps or a suction cup were almost 40 percent more likely to suffer from emotional and behavioural problems.

The researchers link the behavioral problems faced by such kids to high levels of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the body during a stressful birth.

Previous studies have found that cortisol levels in umbilical cord blood are lowest in babies born by elective caesarean, followed by spontaneous vaginal delivery.

The highest levels of cortisol are found in those born by assisted delivery using forceps or a suction cup.

“Cortisol levels have been linked to childhood psychopathology. However, more studies are still needed to look at this in more detail,” said Professor Jianmeng Liu of the Institute of Reproductive and Child Health in Beijing and joint author on the research paper.

Liu said it was the first examination of the effect on child behaviour of caesarean delivery on maternal request.

“With the rising rates of elective caesarean section in China and in other countries, it is interesting to see from this research that there is a low impact on childhood psychopathology,” said BJOG editor-in-chief Professor Philip Steer.

Cesarean births are on surge in countries like China where the rates of such births has risen to 56 percent in 2006 from 22 percent in 1994.

A major contributor to this is the number of requests for Caesarean delivery.

The study is published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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