Health Care

Caesarean sections cause obesity and microbiome changes in mice

RG: Why do you think mice born by Caesarian gained more weight? . Conducted on mice, it found that rodents born via c-section are more likely to have an unbalanced amount of good and bad bacteria in their stomachs, which basically increases their chances of gaining weight.

RG: Would it be possible to expose mice or children born by C-section to the microbes they'd encounter in a vaginal birth? The mice born by C-section were, on average, 33 per cent heavier than those born vaginally.

According to study author Dr Maria Dominguez-Bello, this the first such study to demonstrate a causal relationship between c-section and increased body weight in mammals. In the USA, C-sections account for 32 percent of births, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is hoped to bring down the number of c-section deliveries. I recommend not to opt for a C-section when not medically necessary.

For this study, researchers observed the effect of c-section birth on 34 mice and the effect of a normal birth on 35 other mice.

Dominguez-Bello: We found that in mice, C-section-fostering caused increased weight gain, and an abnormal microbiota that seems to not mature much during the baby's development. C-section male mice gained only 14 percent more weight compared with their vaginally delivered counterparts.

Dominguez-Bello: We think it's microbes, but we need to prove it.

The team used genomic techniques to determine which bacterial species lived in the guts of the mice for four weeks after weaning, when they were about eight weeks old. These three bacterial groups have been previously associated with a lean body phenotype in mice.

While the C-section mice are heavier, it isn't clear whether they are actually unhealthy. "We were very surprised to see this", she says.

The results of microbiome differences between kids born via C-section or vaginally have been mixed.

The microbiomes of the C-section mice also looked different to those born vaginally.



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