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Natural Childbirth May Boost the Immune System

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Natural ChildbirthPrevious studies have concluded that the gut bacteria of babies born vaginally differs from the gut bacteria of babies born via cesarean section. Now a new study by researchers from the University of Copenhagen as published in the Journal of Immunology indicates that natural birth provides a boost to the immune system.

Using a mouse model, the researchers scrutinized the impact of birth on the development of the immune system of newborn mouse pups.

Babies born vaginally are exposed to more bacteria from the mother than babies delivered by Caesarean section.

According to the study, pups born via cesarean section developed a lower number of cells that strengthen the immune system. The cells play an important role in preventing reactive immune cells from responding to molecules from the body, diet, and harmless intestinal bacteria.

The difference in cell development may help explain differences in the development of autoimmune disorders such as type 1 diabetes, Chrohn’s disease, and allergies. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an over-reaction by the immune system.

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Further studies will investigate whether babies born via cesarean section are predisposed to autoimmune diseases. The current study did not find signs of type 1 diabetes in the pups born surgically.

The results of the current and future studies may help researchers develop methods for strengthening the immune system in babies who are predisposed to autoimmune diseases.

References

A child’s immune system may be boosted by natural birth: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/279491.php
C-section babies have weaker immunity: Study: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Home/Science/C-section-babies-have-weaker-immunity-Study/articleshow/38146829.cms
Mode of delivery shapes gut colonization pattern and modulates regulatory immunity in mice: http://www.jimmunol.org/content/early/2014/06/19/jimmunol.1400085.full.pdf+html
Mouse study: Natural birth may strengthen the immune system: http://healthsciences.ku.dk/news/news2014/mouse-study-natural-birth-may-strengthen-the-immune-system/

Image Credits

Natural Childbirth: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/962622

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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