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Cesarean Section Linked to Increased Risk of Celiac Disease

A recent study found an increased risk of celiac disease for babies born by cesaren section vs. babies born by natural vaginal delivery. The authors conclude that they are not sure why this association exists…


Pediatrics, online May 17, 2010

Gluten Free Society’s Stance:

This study brings to light a major problem…

Humans are symbiotic (meaning that we rely on a mutual relationship with normal bacteria in our gut to survive). Babies receive their first exposure to large quantities of bacteria while passing through the vaginal canal at birth. Bypassing this natural phenomena leads to the baby’s first exposure coming from hospital air. Unfortunately, hospital air contains large amounts of pathogenic (infectious) bacteria.

Why is this important?

The bacterial flora is one of four immune barriers that protect humans from infection. The normal flora produces essential nutrients like vitamin K and biotin. The normal flora aids in the process of digestion and normal bowel motility. We also know that the bacteria play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases (celiac is an autoimmune disease). Recent studies have shown that gluten intolerance is on the rise. Could C-section overkill be one of the reasons why? If the baby’s flora is initially established by the wrong types of bacteria, the stage is set for increased risk for several problems. Research has linked cesarean births to increased allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis, eczema, obesity, diabetes, and more.

Should we be asking the question – Why so many C-sections?

The answer is obviously yes. Let’s look at history for a moment. It is not uncommon for doctors to over prescribe medications and surgical procedures. Some good examples include – antibiotics, cholesterol medications as well as tonsilectomy (tonsil removal), and cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal) procedures. Another classic historical blunder is telling new moms to formula feed over breast feeding. It is possible that OB/Gyn doctors are over prescribing cesarean too? Food for thought… If you have had experience on this topic, please leave a comment below.

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