If you're planning to give birth by C-section, you'd better start building those arm muscles because you're going to be carrying a big, fat baby home from the hospital. It's true — C-section babies grow up to be fatter kids than those who are pushed out through the vagina.
At least that's what we're being told this week following a study, aka the 753rd pointless thing to be said about C-section births, that was carried out at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
These highly intelligent Harvard people have found that babies born by C-section are 15 percent more likely to be obese in childhood than other kids. After examining 16 years of data from more than 22,000 young adults in the Growing Up Today study, they also found that babies born by C-section were 64 percent more likely to be obese than siblings born by vaginal birth.
Oh, and here's another revelation: The increased risk of obesity may continue into adulthood.
The U.S. C-section rate is about 1 in every 3 births according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, that was 1,284,551 babies. Want to know the percentage of their moms who would benefit from knowing their method of delivery gave their kid a higher chance of obesity? Zero percent. A big, fat zero, if you like.
It's just not enough to tell moms stuff like this — when they have enough doubts and worries and fears racing through their heads, both before and after the baby is born — without a darn good reason for doing so. Seriously — what does it achieve? Who knows how much money was spent on this study, and dozens more in the same vein that make women feel guilty or inferior about pregnancy or parenting choices they make? Surely that money could be put to far better use? Such as educating parents and kids on how to prevent obesity and providing support to those who might need a helping hand?
We're all dying to know why C-section babies are more likely to be obese than babies born vaginally, and well, we're pretty disappointed with the answer. It's not so much an answer as a "maybe this is the case." Basically, there's a theory that the birth canal is teeming with microorganisms that are beneficial to health. There is evidence that babies who are exposed to the birth canal have a greater variety of good bacteria than their C-section peers. But as far as any research into the link between a mom's collection of bacteria and her child's risk of obesity goes, well… that's it. And you know what? We don't need any more research on that particular matter.
Obviously, a C-section is a major operation and every mom should be aware of the risks before undergoing the procedure. And let's not forget that for many mothers, it's not an option — it's a medical necessity. It's time to stop looking for reasons to influence women's childbirth decisions and trust that they believe they're doing what's best for themselves and their babies.
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