Protecting Immunity in a Cesarean Birth

How a baby is born does impact its future immune health.

Our immune system is housed primarily in the gut with our natural bacterial flora being one of our first lines of defense and an intricate part of normal immunity.

click to see image childbirth

When a baby is born, it is normally exposed to mom’s vaginal flora.  This is the babies first meal, as it is the very first thing to enter into their virgin digestive tract.  These healthy bacteria form a coating inside the digestive tract.  Think of the bacterial flora like putting a layer of slime inside a the gastrointestinal tract, creating a physical barrier to entry.  This will protect from proteins and other foreign bodies like bacteria and viruses from entering the blood stream through the very permeable intestinal lining.   Without this, proteins from food and germs would have the opportunity to pass through.

When proteins pass into the blood stream, your body recognizes that they are foreign and creates an immune reaction to eliminate them.  This is the creation of food sensitivities and food allergies and a switch of the immune system to abnormal reactions.

There are two factors at play with babies born via Cesarean.  One, they are not exposed to moms natural flora as the are born since they are not passing through the birth canal, and two, they will definitely be exposed to IV antibiotics during the surgery, and then through moms milk.

How can mom’s who give birth via Cesarean make up for this?

You can take a swab of the mother’s vagina and put it on her nipples.  This would give the baby the opportunity to have it’s proper first meal and protect it’s immune and digestive tract.

Since mom will also have her flora wipes out through the antibiotics in surgery, probiotics and fermented foods are a must.    Fermented foods allow the good bacteria to travel further along the digestive tract.

Here is another great article about the subject:

My Baby, My Microbiome

“Evidence is mounting that babies delivered by C-section miss out on the benefits of the mother’s microbiome. Karen Levy on how cesarean’s could be tied to obesity, asthma, allergies and more.”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/06/02/babies-born-by-cesarean-section-may-not-gain-benefits-of-vaginal-microbiome.html

About Dr. Nancy

Dr. Nancy is a childbirth educator and has coached numerous women through their pregnancies, births, and in caring for their young children since 2001. She has been practicing family, wellness chiropractic since with a focus on prenatal and pediatric chiropractic and caring for the whole family.
This entry was posted in Breastfeeding, Breech Birth, Caesarean Section, Newborn Procedures, Western Birth Practices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Protecting Immunity in a Cesarean Birth

  1. Linda says:

    I knew that it was healthier for a baby to be born vaginally, but I didn’t realize that they actually get the mom’s flora for their own gut from passing through the birth canal. That totally makes sense and it’s great to read what mothers can do to still give their babies the proper gut flora if they were born c-section. I love reading this kind of stuff. I’m glad that my own daughter was born naturally and without any drugs or interventions.

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