06 March 2009

C-section raises kids' asthma risk

Children born by caesarean delivery are at increased risk for developing asthma, particularly if their parents have allergies, researchers report.


Children born by caesarean delivery are at increased risk for developing asthma, particularly if their parents have allergies, according to a report published this month.

C-section has been thought to be a risk factor for asthma, although the relationship is controversial, Dr. H. A. Smit, from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in Bilthoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues note in the report.

How the study was done
Smit's team analyzed data from 2917 children to assess the association between caesarean delivery and asthma or allergies at 8 years of age.

Overall, 362, or 12.4 percent, of the children developed asthma at age 8, the researchers report, and 8.5 percent had been delivered by c-section.

The findings
Overall, children delivered by c-section were 79 percent more likely to develop asthma than children born vaginally, the investigators found.

The association between c-section and asthma was even stronger for children born to one or two allergic parents than for children born to parents without allergies.

"Our results emphasize the importance of gene-environment interactions on the development of asthma in children," Smit and colleagues conclude.

"The increased rate of caesarean section is partly due to maternal demand without medical reason. In this situation, the mother should be informed of the risk of asthma for her child, especially when the parents have a history of allergy or asthma," they wrote.

- (Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Thorax, February 2009.

Read more:
Childhood virus may cause asthma
Nuts in pregnancy ups asthma risk


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Asthma Expert

Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules