As every pregnancy is different for each woman, the same is true for labour. Planning for a homebirth originally myself, I could never have predicted that I would require an emergency C-section. Even with all my planning as a Naturopathic Doctor, and a beautiful, healthy pregnancy, I did not think I would have a C-section. Fortunately after witnessing many births, I know that the most important quality for a labouring woman to have is – flexibility! As well, knowing that a C-section does not allow for the infant to be exposed to mom’s beneficial bacteria, I doubled up my dosing of probiotics and also brought an infant probiotic along to the hospital.
A recent article in Gut August 2013 reported that infants delivered by C-section had a lower abundance in microflora (the ‘good’ bacteria) and diversity of the microflora. As well, the authours concluded that infants born via C-section had significantly lower levels of immune-system cells in their blood (specifically,Th1-associated chemokines CXCL10 and CXCL11).
So what does this mean and is there a way to prevent seeing this in infants for moms that have C-sections? As a Naturopathic Doctor, I recommend to most of my pregnant women patients that supplementing with a good quality probiotic can provide a number of health benefits for mom and possibly even baby during pregnancy. After delivery, I usually also encourage supplementation for the infant as well.
More studies in this area are needed as the gastrointestinal area is connected not only with digestion but also the immune system. Some studies already point to a link between probiotics and the decreased incidence of atopic disease (asthma, eczema). So in terms of prevention, probiotic supplementation for the newborn is highly recommended. There are also many different formulas available so it is ideal to seek the assistance of a Naturopathic Doctor who can advise on the appropriate formula.
For more info on the study, see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23926244.
Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor today for recommendations on probiotic usage in pregnancy, infancy, and childhood.