Non-natural births lead to long-term problems
BABIES induced or delivered by caesarean section face long-term health problems, explosive findings of a world-first study have revealed.
Australians were among a team of international researchers to discover the adverse impacts of medical interference in the birthing process.
The study cohort included 491,590 low-risk pregnant women from Australia.
Researchers say that tampering with the natural labour process may interrupt the normal stress of being born: too much stress and too little stress both can have negative impacts.
The study, published today in the journal Birth, shows children born by emergency caesarean section had the highest rates of metabolic disorders in later years. Instrumental births following induction or augmentation had the highest risk of jaundice and feeding problems.
Infants delivered by caesarean section had higher rates of hypothermia and the odds of respiratory infections, metabolic disorder and eczema were highest among children who experienced any form of birth intervention.
"The study adds to the mounting scientific evidence which suggests that children born by spontaneous vaginal birth, without commonly used medical and surgical intervention, have fewer health problems," Professor Hannah Dahlen, from Western Sydney University's School of Nursing and Midwifery said.
"We know some interventions are necessary for mother and baby but obviously the high rates we currently have are detrimental long term," Maternity Consumer Network's Alecia Staines said.
New Sunshine Coast mum Adelle Rutch had hoped for a birth free from intervention.
"I understand that sometimes it is necessary but my birth plan showed I wanted a natural birth without pain relief. Thanks to the help of my private midwife it went according to plan," the 27-year-old said.