Babies born by Cesarean section may have greater sensitivity to certain foods and are at a greater risk for diarrhea, according to a recent study.
Researchers studied 865 babies who had been exclusively breast-fed until they were 4 months old. None was born prematurely, and they were all born into families with a history of allergies. The babies were monitored on four separate occasions until they turned 1. Blood samples were then taken to check for antibodies to food allergens including eggs, cows' milk, and soy protein. Mothers also completed food diaries on their babies' health and eating habits.
It was observed that babies born by C-section were significantly more likely to have diarrhea during their first year of life compared to babies born vaginally. They were also twice as likely to be sensitive to cows' milk and any of the other five food allergens.
Researches say their findings confirm the importance of gut bacteria in the development of the immune system response, and that C-section alters or delays "normal" bacterial colonization of the baby's gut. They suggest vaginally delivered babies acquire those bacteria from the mother, whereas C-section babies acquire bacteria from the hospital environment.