I am going to keep this post brief because this is a question that I have tackled before on a sister blog post: caesarean section and coeliac disease? The crux of that entry was the emerging suggestion that people born via caesarean section (c-section) were at greater risk of coeliac disease than those who were pushed through the bacteria-filled birth canal.
Further evidence has now emerged concerning a possible relationship in this paper by Marild and colleagues*. The details summarised:
- A case-control study where recorded pregnancy information was collected via a central database between 1973 and 2008.
- Biopsy-verified coeliac disease (CD) was determined for 11,749 participants compared with 53,887 age- and gender-matched non-CD general population controls.
- There was a positive significant association between elective c-section delivery and later CD diagnosis (p=0.005) but none for emergency c-sections.
- Small for dates babies were over 20% more likely to develop CD also.
- No other pregnancy variables showed an association with CD.
I quote from the author's final sentence of their abstract: ".. consistent with the hypothesis that the bacterial flora of the newborn plays a role in the development of celiac disease".
I must point out that whilst bacterial colonisation of the infant gut may be a variable in determining your risk of CD, it is most probably not the only important variable. I don't want anyone reading this entry and taking it to their healthcare provider as 'proof' of anything; it is not. Likewise I am not trying to overturn any 'too posh to push' arguments.
What however can be inferred from this paper is that there may consequences to every action; some consequence might be positive (such as getting a breech presenting infant out of mum and avoiding any very serious complications), some of them might be not-so positive. The trick is to see where this research leads and, just a suggestion, whether an early bacterial 'transplant' from mum to baby one day becomes the norm for those babies who don't end up traversing the birth canal. Just a suggestion.
* Marild K. et al. Pregnancy outcome and risk of celiac disease in offspring: a nationwide case-control study. Gastroenterology. October 2011.