We live in a time where C-sections have become pretty mainstream. Once they were something that was only done in dire situations when a woman absolutely could not give birth naturally. Not only were "traditional" births something that were valued by society, but there were also too many risks that came with C-sections; they just weren't worth it.
But today, things have gotten a lot better. Physicians generally know how to handle the risks and make sure that the cards aren't stacked against women who need to have them. They're also more aware of why a mother-to-be would need to have a C-section in the first place. In many cases, it's far safer to have a C-section than it is to give birth the way we were all taught in schools.
But even though medicine has come a long way, there are still a number of things that could go wrong when delivering via a Cesarean. But this should be expected, since it is a surgical delivery. In any surgery, there are risks for complications. Still, mothers and mothers-to-be should be aware of some of the ways their babies could be impacted if they are brought into this world via a C-section. Although consulting a physician is always advisable, we have created a list of things that C-section babies experience (or could experience) that other babies don't tend to. Of course, all of our entries are sourced at the bottom of this article. Without further ado, here are 20 things that only happen to C-section babies.
20 They Will Likely Have Siblings Born Via C-Section
It's extraordinarily likely that babies who were delivered via C-section will have brothers and sisters who are also delivered this way. This is the case because their mother is likely to run across the same reasons why a C-section is the best delivery method for her. That is unless she purely chose to have the first one for physical or cosmetic reasons. Additionally, doctors like to take precautions, as the previous C-section incision could open if a woman has her next baby the natural and more tiresome way. However, a woman can only have up to four C-sections in her life, which obviously limits the number of children she could have.
19 Their Fathers Are More Involved
Dads definitely tend to be more present in the first few months of their child's life if he or she has been delivered via a C-section. This is because a C-section is a major surgery which causes the mom to have to recover for longer than she would if she had given birth traditionally. Moms tend to experience more discomfort after a C-section and will be on pills that may even cause them to feel drowsy.
Moms who just had a C-section also aren't allowed to lift things, as the incision needs time to heal and close up. This causes dads, other romantic partners, friends, or parents, to step in to help. Therefore, a newborn C-section baby could start building a strong connection with these individuals before their own mother.
18 A Higher Chance Of Breathing Issues
One thing that parents need to know about C-sections is that there is a stronger potential that their baby will have some sort of respiratory issue. Actually, the breathing condition rDS, a complication related to scheduled cesareans, was the most costly condition of all hospital stays in 2005. This goes to show how common it is.
The reason why babies who come out traditionally have a smaller chance of respiratory problems is that contractions of labor help prepare the baby’s lungs. During each contraction, there's a temporary reduction in oxygen. This causes a baby's heart rate to slow and adapt to the stress of having less air. This preparation isn't something that C-section babies get due to the lack of contractions they experience.
17 Infant-Mother Attachment Could Be Delayed
The World Health Organization, as well as the AAP, encouraged moms to have skin-to-skin contact with their baby ASAP. This is especially important after birth so the baby can learn how to breastfeed immediately. Additionally, skin-to-skin contact helps with the baby’s metabolic adaptation. It also stabilizes the baby's glucose level.
Fascinatingly, if the mother is the first person to hold the baby rather than a staff person, it helps to colonize the baby’s gut with her mother’s normal body gut bacteria. All of these things help the health of a baby as well as their connection with their mother. However, the likelihood of a baby born via a C-section having immediate contact with their mom is low. Only about 14% of mothers who gave birth via cesarean had their baby in their arms immediately after birth. This is because they are more likely to be taken to a nursery, as both they and their mom's need to recover from the surgery.
16 They Will Take Longer To Breastfeed
Usually, a cesarean birth makes it far more challenging for mothers to initiate and establish breastfeeding; therefore C-section babies have a far harder time with it. There are many reasons for this including that the baby and mom tend to be separated after the surgery for a few hours, and thus a skin-to-skin connection isn't established in the most important hour after birth. Additionally, the mother has to take a significant amount of meds in order to feel better after the surgery. They can have a negative effect on breastfeeding including affecting an infant's ability to suckle in an organized and effective manner.
15 More Stress Than Usual
There are doctors who say that C-section babies have a significant amount of stress imprinted onto them. From the perspective of these doctors, when a mother has a C-section, the baby isn't ready to come into the world and has to experience the birth in a more full-on way when they're not prepared. This means they could experience some psychological implications. Studies have shown that these babies have a tendency to withdraw, which can cause certain hardships for their parents. Stress and anxiety can be something that a lot of these babies experience. That doesn't mean that these problems are a sure thing or that they aren't fixable.
14 A Planned C-Section Lowers Risks To Baby's Health
While there can be a lot of physical and psychological complications that can go along with a baby who comes into the world via a sudden C-section, the risks are astronomically lowered when their C-section is planned. Not only that, but there are actually a few potential benefits of a planned C-section. Dr. Neil S. Seligman, an OB-GYN at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, says that a planned C-section also lowers the potential of birth injuries such as asphyxia (oxygen deprivation), shoulder dystocia, and various fractures that could occur in a rushed C-section or even in natural birth.
13 The Baby Won't Receive Mama's Microbiomes
In 2016, new information about C-sections shed light on the benefits of traditional birth. This is because during traditional birth a baby is around a good dose of healthy bacteria in the birth canal. This bacteria is essential in preparing the baby to deal with the bacteria in the outside world. This bacteria is called microbiomes, and it's something that babies born via a C-section aren't around. More research needs to be done in this area before physicians can find an adequate way of supplying a C-section baby with the right microbiomes. But for now, it seems like they will have a slightly more challenging time acclimatizing to the bacteria that exists outside of their mom's womb.
12 Possible Delay In Brain Functionality
This next attribute of C-section babies is certainly not one of the positives. Believe it or not, C-sections can actually have an impact on the brain function of a baby. Doctors who researched this issue found that babies show slowed spatial attention if they were delivered via a C-section. This attributes to their lower attention spans than the babies who were born naturally. The researchers believe that this is the case because brain development can be impacted by the delivery method. They don't know why this is the case for sure, but it could have something to do with the amount of work needed to bring a baby into the world naturally versus a surgery where the experts are doing all of the work. So, C-section babies may have a harder time developing their brains, at least at first.
11 Babies May Need To Stay In The Neonatal Care Unit
Babies who are delivered via a C-section almost always become well-acquainted with the neonatal care unit at the hospital they were born at. This is because most babies have to be taken away from their mothers after the surgery due to both parties needing the time to recover. Additionally, the doctors and nurses need to make sure that everything is working fine with the baby since they haven't been brought into the world the typical way. Most of the time this is no big deal; however, as mentioned earlier, it does add more time before the baby and mother are reunited where a connection can be formed and breastfeeding can start.
10 They're Likely To Have Older Moms
It's statistically more likely that a C-section baby will be born to a woman who is older than the average new mamma. Although this isn't always the case, older women tend to have more C-sections than younger women as their age can complicate a traditional delivery. This is because older women tend to have more complex medical issues that could flat-out prevent a delivery. At the very least, their doctor is likely to suggest that a C-section is the better way to go when delivering their baby.
Of course, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. A C-section baby could have a lot of fun with an older more who may be feeling less pressure from the outside world at her age.
9 They May Have Marks From Surgery
Not everybody thinks marks as bad as others do. In fact, some wear the imperfections in their skin as a badge of honor. At the very least, it makes them look cool and completely unique. Here's hoping that most C-section babies feel this way as they are far more likely to have marks on them after their delivery than babies who were born the traditional way. Although it's rare for this to happen, surgical injuries are a thing. In fact, the chances of this increase to about 15% if the surgeon is less than experienced. Of course, there's more of a likelihood of this happening if the C-section happens immediately instead of being something that's planned out.
8 Breastmilk May Make Them Sleepy
C-section babies can often become quite tired after breastfeeding. Well, at least this is the case for the first few weeks after their birth. This is because their mother's breastmilk can be altered by all of the pills of IVs they have to have after their C-section surgery. Of course, like any major surgery, these antidotes need to be administered to the moms in order for them to cope with their discomfort as well as speed-up the healing process. But that means that these antidotes can enter every part of their body, even their milk. This actually isn't a bad thing as babies will likely be whisked off to sleep far easier than babies who are born the other way.
7 Likely To Be Born In The Dominican Republic, Brazil, Or Egypt
If a baby is delivered via a C-section, there's a strong chance that they will be from the Dominican Republic. This is because the Dominican Republic has a C-section rate of 58.1 percent. It's followed Brazil and Egypt which each have a 55.5 percent C-section rate. The reasoning tends to have to do with a desire to avoid discomfort as well as the rise of more women giving birth in hospitals around the globe. However, C-sections tend not to be available in poorer countries at all. In rich countries, the C-section rate tends to be higher due to cosmetic reasons and mothers having the financial capability. But they aren't as high as some mid-level countries, such as the Dominican Republic, because women in richer countries tend to trust the hospital and doctors enough to have a natural birth.
6 Avoiding Some Of Their Mother's Health Problems
Yep, we can absolutely point a finger at our mothers for some of our problems. That is if we were born the traditional way. C-section babies tend to get far less of their mother's medical issues than those born naturally since C-section babies aren't in the presence of their mother's gut bacteria. Although this is sometimes a bad thing, it also means that they may avoid taking on some of their mother's less desired traits. Babies born the traditional way have to pass through the area where they can absorb some of this bacteria, taking it on for better or for worse. There are many studies on this particular issue.
5 Chance Of Being Premature
Oh yes, a C-section absolutely has a greater chance of being born prematurely. Before a C-section occurs, a woman is given in ultrasound in order to determine if the baby is ready to come out or not. Additionally, a woman's cycle is examined. But both of these techniques can be wrong. Nothing can beat the natural signs of a woman's body when it comes to determining whether a baby is ready for the world or not. Being born prematurely can increase the risk of many complications that babies can experience. It also means that the baby will be of a smaller size. Even a baby who comes out a week early can experience these issues, even if they're a similar size to a full-term baby.
4 Babies Will Likely Have C-Section Kids Of Their Own
Researchers from Austria and the U.S. have determined that large numbers of women having C-Sections over a long period of time may influence the evolution of their kids. One of the traits that they noticed was that C-section babies have larger heads, something that probably wouldn't have occurred if they were delivered naturally as a woman's birth canal is designed for a smaller head. This trait can be passed down genetically, meaning that C-section babies are likely to have a C-section of their own.
Scientists say that since we are interfering with nature via surgical delivery, we're preventing our species from riding ourselves of this genetic trait. Meaning that future generations might find it impossible to have a baby by traditional delivery.
3 Possible Long-Term Issues
Don't be too put off by this entry title as there is only limited research done in this arena. But it is suggested that C-section babes have a higher risk of some long-term conditions such as type 1 diabetes. The reason for this isn't clear but the research seems to be pointing in that direction. But there's also isn't enough evidence to suggest that the C-section is the main culprit. It just so happens to be a shared trait amongst many kids who are delivered via a C-section. Some of the theories for this have to do with the fact that the baby isn't around their mother's microbiomes, which were mentioned earlier. It also may have to do with the fact that C-sections babies have a harder time taking to breastfeeding than their counterparts.
2 Short-Term Hearing Issues
C-section babies also have another somewhat undesirable trait that babies who were born naturally don't tend to have; this would be that they could have short-term hearing issues. Let's emphasize that these researched issues do tend to go away 72 hours after birth. But for those first couple days, a baby is likely not to pass their first hearing test. Experts believe that the reason for this has something to do with an event that happens during natural birth where the middle ear fluid is released. This doesn't happen during a C-section; thus the fluid is retained, causing short-term hearing issues. However, at the end of the day, there is no long-term difference in hearing between the two types of babies.
1 Stronger Chance Of Asthma
As discussed earlier, babies who are delivered via a C-section tend to experience a variety of respiratory issues as well as possible long-term conditions. One of the most common long-term problems that C-section babies can have is asthma. But this is something that doesn't happen to them right away. Instead, the babies tend to develop it over time. This is backed up by studies conducted in the Netherlands and in Norway. Experts believe that the reason for this has to do with the babies having a certain bacteria in their intestines because they weren't around their mother's birth canal microbiomes during delivery. The babies with these intestinal bacteria have a greater risk of getting asthma later in life.
Sources: Today's Parent, Kids Health, BabyCenter.com, Livestrong.com, MedicalXpress.com, TechTimes.com, ScienceNordic.com, Tommys, DailyMail.co.uk, NCBI, MidwiferyToday.com, Vbac.com, Healthline, CBSNews.com, Parents, VBAC, Paleo Leap, CNN, Belly Belly, Statista