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Thursday 27th October 2016

Diabetes risk for Caesarean babies

26th August 2008

Research has shown that babies who are delivered by Caesarean section are one fifth more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than children delivered naturally.


A team from Queen's University Belfast looked at 20 previous studies, according to a report in the PubMed journal. The results suggested that "hospital bacteria" could be the cause for the 20% rise in the risk of diabetes. A baby's danger of diabetes is normally three in 1,000.

Other possible reasons for the rise in diabetes were considered, including a baby's weight at birth, if it was breastfed, how old the mother was and gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but were not found to affect the risk.

There are around 250,000 type 1 diabetes sufferers in the UK. People who have the condition need to inject themselves with insulin and monitor their blood sugar. On average, nearly one quarter (24%) of births are by Caesarean section in the UK.

Dr Chris Cardwell, from Queen's University Belfast, said: "This study shows a consistent 20% increase in the risk of diabetes. "He added that they still did not fully understand the reasons for the elevated risk and that it was "possible" that Caesarean sections were a factor because of hospital bacteria.

Dr Iain Frame, from Diabetes UK, said further studies were necessary."Not all women have the choice of whether to have a Caesarean or not, but those who do may wish to take this risk into consideration before choosing to give birth this way."


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