Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Cesarean Section Births Affect Allergies

Discussed in a recent CNN article and Medical News Today article is the idea of where allergies come from. An allergy is brought about by the body's reaction to an antigen. The body sees this antigen as a harmful invader instead of the harmless element it is. Allergens cause your body to produce Immunoglobulin E antibodies. These antibodies are responsible for identifying and destroying harmful invaders. However, in the process, they release histamine and other chemicals that create allergic reactions.

Sensitivity to the invaders is what brings on the allergic reaction. What is unknown is what causes  sensitivity. It is believed that this sensitivity develops even in the womb. It has been found that babies born by a Cesarean Section are 6 times more likely to be sensitive to allergies. Babies who are born via C-section have a different micro biome in their gastrointestinal tract. While in the womb, babies are sterile. As they pass through their mother's birth canal, they are exposed to many bacteria, and the body can learn the difference between the good and bad bacteria. However, through a C-section, the baby is only exposed to bacteria found in skin cells. From this, babies born through C-section are more susceptible to allergens.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very interesting article. It is not much of a surprise that children develop an immune system while they are babies to help fight against allergies. However, I found it interesting that the bacteria in the mother's birth canal can have such a major impact on allergies. Because C-sections cannot be prevented in most cases, I wonder whether scientists will be able to expose C-section babies to those same bacteria that are in their mother’s birth canal immediately after they are born. This could prove beneficial to many babies, as it would improve their immune system for allergies as well as illnesses.