Are C-section babies really more likely to grow up obese?

07 February 2020

Women who have caesarean sections are no more likely to have children who develop obesity than women who give birth naturally, a large study has found.

The findings, published in PLoS Medicine, contradict several smaller studies that found an association – but did not consider the numerous maternal and prenatal factors.

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet compared the body mass index of nearly 100,000 male 18-year-olds. They found that 5.5% and 5.6% of the men delivered through elective and non-elective C-section respectively were obese, compared with 4.9% of the men delivered vaginally.

After accounting for other factors known to impact offspring weight, the researchers concluded that the method of childbirth did not play a significant role in determining the risk of obesity.

The strongest confounder in the association between mode of delivery and obesity was how much the mother weighed before she became pregnant. 


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