How to Give Baby’s Immune System a Head Start

We’ve known for a long time that kefir and probiotics are beneficial to health, and we continue to be excited when we learn of more and more research that supports our knowledge. From studies recommending our favorite bugs for management of digestive disorders, including Ulcerative Colitis, to papers that illustrate the gut-mind connection, probiotics are in the health spotlight more than ever. That being said, some of the most interesting research we’ve found recently doesn’t cover what we can do now with probiotics for our health, but what mothers can do for their children, even before they’re born.

From Belly to Birth: Good Bugs and Delivery



If you think all types of delivery are the same, it might be time to think again. Whether you had an emergency C-section due to unforeseen medical complications or an elective C-section because you’re “too posh to push,” a new analysis suggests that your baby might be at an increased risk of asthma and obesity compared with those born vaginally. The reason is intriguing, too.

When a baby travels through the vaginal canal during childbirth, it picks up natural bacteria residing there. These bacteria colonize the infant’s intestines, in effect, providing them their basic immunity. These bacteria also play a role in how a baby absorbs nutrients and are thought to potentially impact their odds of developing autoimmune diseases. Cesarean babies don’t travel this path, though, and as a result, their bacteria levels are different.

More and more children are being born via C-section these days. If you’ve already delivered your child that way, or about to, it’s not meant to scare you. The overall percent changes aren’t huge – a 1.6 percent higher risk of asthma and a 3.6 percent higher risk of obesity, plus the type of data that was used doesn’t rule out possible confounding factors.

But if you’re hoping for a planned C-section without medical reasons, or were looking for a little encouragement to attempt a VBAC with your second baby, maybe this will be the push you needed.