This Tied to Slight Increase in Kids Asthma Risk

This Tied to Slight Increase in Kids' Asthma Risk But second report finds countries with low C-section rates had higher death rates for infants, mothers
WebMD News from HealthDay

By Steven Reinberg

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Dec. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Children born by planned cesarean delivery appear to have a slightly higher chance of developing asthma than those born through vaginal delivery, researchers report.

The difference in risk was small, with 3.73 percent of those born through planned C-section hospitalized by age 5 for asthma, compared to 3.41 percent of kids who were born through vaginal delivery. And those who had a cesarean delivery had a 10.3 percent risk of needing an asthma inhaler at age 5, compared to 9.6 percent for those born vaginally, the researchers found.

"C-section may play a part in explaining global increases in asthma, but overall this study provides some reassurance that children delivered by planned C-section are not at substantially higher risk of childhood illness," said lead researcher Dr. Mairead Black. Black is a clinical lecturer and research fellow in obstetrics at the University of Aberdeen, in Scotland.

"This is an observational study, so we cannot definitively say that the planned C-section is the cause of the small increase in risk of asthma," she said.

"The absolute difference in risk to children delivered by planned C-section was very low. So, while C-section may play a part in explaining global increases in asthma, it is unlikely to be important enough to influence individual delivery decisions," Black added.

The report was published Dec. 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Black and her colleagues collected data on more than 321,000 firstborns in Scotland between 1993 and 2007, and followed them until February 2015.

The investigators found that, compared with children born by emergency cesarean delivery, those born by planned cesarean delivery were not at a significantly increased risk for asthma requiring hospitalization, asthma inhaler prescription at age 5, obesity at age 5, inflammatory bowel disease, cancer or death. But they were at increased risk of type 1 diabetes, the findings showed.

Dr. Mitchell Maiman, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, said, "C-section can be a disadvantage for babies."

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