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Are C-Section Babies Happier?

Surgical Delivery

Being a mother who has given birth twice via a cesarean section, when I saw the title of this article in my in-box I couldn’t skip over it. Are c-section babies happier kids? My interest was sparked!

Over on BabyCenter, Author Marcella Gates reported a new Chinese study reported by Reuters yesterday. According to the study – babies who undergo a difficult vaginal delivery are more likely to develop behavioral problems over children born via c-section.

While the study certainly seems interesting, it also seems flawed, as Marcella agreed in her posting. I say this because of the impact a difficult cesarean delivery can have. My second child  turned into a difficult cesarean section, and spent time in the NICU due to this. I would consider this to be a traumatic delivery, would the Chinese researchers?

According to the study :

When researchers analyzed 4,190 4- to 6-year-olds for anxiety, depression, attention difficulties, and delinquent and aggressive behavior, they found the problems were lowest in kids delivered by c-section and highest in those delivered vaginally with instruments like forceps and vacuum.

Researchers are looking at the role of cortisol, a stress hormone our body produces. Turns out that cortisol levels are lowest in babies who had easy deliveries an elective c-section or uncomplicated vaginal birth.

Marcella went on to add her personal opinion, and take on the subject that I found especially interesting.

I also sense a political motivation or at least a reflection of cultural trends. In China, elective c-section is encouraged and thought of as the best way to give birth. So a Chinese study hinting that elective c-section is best for babies seems more than a little suspect to me.

I’ve read plenty of information saying that c-sections are more dangerous for babies, and for moms too. I know first-hand that they’re not easy to recover from, and that a surgical birth can be a truly upsetting, disempowering experience.

As the cesarean section rate around the world, especially in China continues to rise, will we see more research studies that conclude possible biased takes on cesarean delivery?

What do you think?

photo : flickr.com/Tammra McCauley

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