The health-giving qualities of natural birth were underlined again this week by a study that shows that babies born by Caesarean section are far more likely to develop asthma as children.
In a study of nearly 3,000 children, those born by C-section were around 60 per cent more likely to develop asthma by the time they were eight.
C-section babies whose mothers also had allergies were even more likely to become asthmatic, while those who had both parents that were allergic nearly tripled their chances of developing the disease.
C-sections have increased from around 5 per cent of all births in the 1970s to more than a third today, and cases of asthma have increased dramatically in line with this.
The researchers conjecture that natural birth helps prime the immune system, so reducing the risk of diseases such as asthma.
(Source: Thorax, December 3, 2008. doi: 10.1136/thx.2008.100875).