Children delivered by Cesarean section miss out on probiotics from their mom and this can negatively impact their weight.

This finding was presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions this year. The difference between a vaginal birth and Cesarean delivery was quite significant; there was a 40 percent greater risk of becoming overweight or obese in childhood. The risk was even greater if the mother is overweight or obese. This strong association remained, even after researchers accounted for the mother's age, race, education, her weight before pregnancy, how much weight she gained during pregnancy, and the infant’s birth weight.

The researchers made the following interesting statement: "We think that the reason for the difference may be due to the beneficial microbes found in the birth canal that newborns are exposed to during a vaginal birth. We suspect that these microbes may benefit a child's health, including enhancing metabolism and training the immune system. We need more studies to determine whether exposing Cesarean-delivered newborns to vaginal microbes at birth can reduce their future risk of metabolic disorders such as obesity."

It’s certainly true that babies born vaginally benefit from exposure to their mother’s microbiome, but the benefits largely depend on how healthy the mother is. If her gut microbiome isn’t ideal, then her vaginal microbiome won’t be either. High sugar diets, Candida infection, intestinal parasites, celiac disease and food intolerance can all disrupt the mother’s bacterial balance.

It is so important for women wishing to become pregnant to optimize their health beforehand. Ideally spending three to six months working on improving gut health is enormously beneficial to their future children’s overall health; not just their weight. For information on how to do that, see our book Infertility: The Hidden Causes.