There is evidence to suggest that children born by C-section have a higher incidence of medical issues than those who are born naturally. Recent research has shown that babies delivered by C-section have a 59% higher risk of obesity under the age of 5, and a 21% increased risk of asthma under the age of 12. These findings were discovered by the University of Edinburgh as a result of a review of 80 studies and trials that collectively looked at 29 million births. Other research studies have also found links between C-sections and allergies, type 1-diabetes and celiac disease.
C-sections are a risk factor for these medical issues because the positive stresses of a natural birth are necessary to stimulate a baby’s immune system in order to fully prepare them for life. With C-sections, there is a risk that the adaptation process the baby goes through during birth is either not completely initiated or only partly triggered, which can cause various problems that are respiratory-related or hormonal-based. It is also possible that intestinal stimulation is distorted, which could lead to diseases and increases the risk of obesity.
Utilising the engineering knowledge of Claus and Johannes, Frédéric Vo Van, a specialist in the global strategic development of companies, formed NnBU with the express purpose of creating a device for use in hospitals and clinics that could replicate the positive stresses of a natural birth in order to help trigger the baby’s immune system.
The team behind specialist medical company NnBU have created the world’s first neonatal birth unit that is able to simulate the positive stresses of natural birth for babies born via elective Caesarian (otherwise known as C-section).
The idea behind this device was born when its co-inventors, Claus Peters and Johannes Schenck, were attending pre-natal classes with their wives. During these classes, the two new fathers began discussing ways in which to help other parents prevent some of the medical issues that have been linked to C-section births.
The device gently massages the baby’s torso immediately after birth and positive APGAR score in sequences that simulate the pressure exerted on the baby during labour, i.e. the initial birth contractions and the expulsive contractions. During the procedure, the baby’s vital signs and oxygen saturation are constantly monitored, and the process is regulated through the use of sensors. The baby is helped to become more alert naturally and comfortably through the use of light in order to help them begin to adapt to life outside of the womb.
Petra Sacher, gynaecologist and medical advisor to NnBU, said, “It’s surprising that someone hasn’t invented this type of unit before now. A device like this may help, as we know that babies born via C-section have a higher incidence of a whole range of immunological issues.”
While C-sections used to be associated with solely emergency situations, many women now elect to have this surgery either due to the advice of their doctors or simply by choice. In recent years, this practice has rapidly increased – in fact, across a number of Western countries the rate of C-section births has risen on average from 19.8% in 2000 to 27.9% in 2015. The market for a device that could help improve the results of C-sections is therefore huge.
Berlin-based Frédéric Vo Van, co-founder and CEO of NnBU , said, “As someone who was born via C-section myself, I was drawn to this idea through some of my own experiences. When I moved to Germany in my thirties I developed allergies and a sensitivity to cold weather and upon researching this I found out this is common for children born via C-section.”
The device will be brought to the market through fundraising in the form of a crowdfunding token sale, starting March 19 2018. Upon completion of this funding, the device will be developed at one of Germany’s most highly regarded research institutions, the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing, Engineering and Automation alongside medical device developers DMTpe