New research reveals that mothers giving birth by Caesarean section have a 20 per cent higher risk of their baby developing Type 1 diabetes in childhood compared to those having natural births.
The research examined 20 published studies of 9,900 children with Type 1 diabetes born by Caesarean section. The increased risk could not be explained by other factors such as birth weight, the age of the mother, order of birth, gestational diabetes and whether the baby was breast-fed or not.
More research welcomed
“Not all women have the choice of whether to have a Caesarean section or not, but those who do may wish to take this risk into consideration before choosing to give birth this way," said Dr Iain Frame, Diabetes UK Director of Research.
“We already know that genetics and childhood infections play a vital role in the development of Type 1 diabetes in children, but the findings of this study indicate that the way a baby is delivered could affect how likely it is to develop this condition later in life. Diabetes UK would welcome more research in this area.”
Higher than WHO recommendations
On average 24 per cent of pregnancies in England are delivered by Caesarean section, which is significantly higher that the World Health Organisation’s recommended rate of 15 per cent.