Several studies in the past have looked into the risk of having a child with asthma by delivering via Cesarean section. The microbiome of infants delivered by C-section differs from those who have delivered vaginally. Past studies from developed Western countries have suggested a possible increase in asthma and wheezing for children delivered by C-section. More recent studies have reported inconsistent results between C-Sections and asthma.
A recent study was done with over 8,000 Chinese children born in Hong Kong, a developed non-Western country with a high C-section rate. C-section/vaginal delivery was evaluated with association of childhood hospitalization for asthma, bronchitis and bronchiolitis in children from 9 days old to 12 years old. The study also took into account sex, birth, prenatal characteristics and socioeconomic position.
The rate of C-section in the study was 27%. Through the age of 12, there was no association between the mode of delivery (C-section or vaginal) and rate of of hospitalizations for asthma and wheezing disorders. So the study found no significant difference in asthma for children with C-section vs. vaginal deliveries. More research will be needed to see how the microbial environment of the child is affected by the mode of birth delivery and whether or not if this affects childhood asthma and other wheezing disorders.
Childhood asthma has increased over the last few decades with a parallel increase in the rate of C-sections. However, if there is a relationship between the two, it is unclear. Previous studies have showed a difference in microbial colonization between infants born after C-section versus natural birth, but lung development, breast feeding, and the degree of stress experienced by the child during birth may also be affected by the mode of delivery. In a previous blog we discussed raw milk benefits as well. http://allergylosangeles.com/allergy-blog/raw-milk-benefits/
Based on this study though, there does not seem to be a relationship between C-sections and asthma. More further research will need to be done to look into other disease states such as allergies, food allergy and/or eczema.