C-section likely to affect your baby's BRAIN development, study.


Having a baby via Caesarean section can affect a child's brain development, study by a team from the School of Nursing Sciences of the University of Nairobi between March and June last year has revealed.

According to the research, children born to women aged over 35 years or delivered through Caesarean section face a high risk of being mentally retarded or suffering learning disabilities.

The research also found a higher proportion of retarded children from single mothers compared to those with two parents.

An examination of 97 mentally retarded children at Kenyatta National Hospital found a higher proportion of them to have been born through Caesarean section compared to those through normal delivery.

It says that there is no relationship between the women’s age and severity of the condition although there were more boys – 62% - than girls affected.

This research resonates with a similar one done in 2015 by researchers at York University in Canada who found out that C-section delivery slows a baby's spatial attention, which plays a role in how well they are able to prioritise and focus on a particular object or area of interest. 

To arrive at their conclusions, researchers conducted two experiments involving different groups of three-month-old infants.

Their eye movement was monitored as an indication of what caught the babies' attention since disruptions or changes in the mechanisms involved in attention would manifest in subsequent eye movement.

Audrey Wong-Key-You, who was also involved in the study said: ‘The findings add a potential psychological implication to the roster of impacts that caesarean section delivery might have.’  

The scientists were however unclear as to why the procedure would slow babies’ concentration but say there is evidence from other studies that the experience affects their early development.

The delivery procedure affects at least one form of a baby's ability to concentrate, scientists found.
It is known that factors such as birth weight and a mother's age impact on the development of a child's cognitive functions.

But little is known about how the actual birth event influences a baby's brain and thinking abilities. 

Growing numbers of women are choosing to have caesareans because they are very anxious about giving birth naturally.

But research in June published in the BMJ linked the procedure to the development of asthma, type 1 diabetes and obesity later on in childhood.

Academics at New York University suggested that women who give birth naturally pass on good bacteria to babies which protect them from such conditions.

In April, the World Health Organisation accused doctors of performing caesareans too readily and putting the health of women and babies at risk.

Officials said the procedure should only be carried out when ‘medically necessary’ as it can lead to infections or even death.


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