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C-Section May Disrupt 'Good' Bacteria in Babies

Being born by cesarean section has been tied to higher risks for various health problems in children, and now a new study finds these babies also have fewer "good" bacteria in their digestive tract.

Similarly, babies who were exclusively or even partially formula-fed rather than breast-fed also had markedly different gut flora than babies who were breast-fed, according to the study appearing in the Feb. 11 issue of the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"Since other [researchers] have found associations between cesarean section delivery or formula-feeding and infant gut changes and conditions like allergy [and] asthma, we speculate that our observations may lead to poor health in later life," said study senior author Anita Kozyrskyj.

The findings support current clinical practice guidelines which favor vaginal delivery whenever possible, added Kozyrskyj, who is research chair and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton.
 
 

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