Impact of Caesarians and Formula on Infant Gut Flora

| February 26, 2013

A study entitled “Gut microbiota of healthy Canadian infants: profiles by mode of delivery and infant diet at 4 months” was published earlier this month in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).

This study provides clear evidence for what many of us have known for some time: that the mode of birth, as well as whether a baby is breast fed or fed with formula, have a significant impact on the quality, health, and potential homeostasis or dysbiosis of an infant’s gut flora.

Although the role played by our human gut bacteria is not as yet well understood, particularly with regard to how it impacts the functioning of our immune systems and our ability to properly digest our food, what is undeniable is that the state of our internal microbiome is crucial and integral to the quality of our overall health throughout the course of our lives.

How We’re Born Matters

All mammals on the planet, including us, are made to be born by passing through their mother’s vaginal canal. However in our busy, modern western world, more and more women these days are choosing to deliver their babies via Caesarian section instead of giving birth the way nature has always intended.

There’s no question that surgical intervention of childbirth is clearly warranted in cases where there are complications that could endanger the health or lives of either mother or baby. However increasing numbers of women, along with their doctors, are today routinely scheduling Caesarian sections simply as a matter of convenience, or perhaps in an attempt to avoid the potential pain of natural childbirth.

Another issue contributing to the increase in routine C-sections are invasive procedures regularly followed in hospital births. For instance the common allopathic intervention involving artificially induced labor through the use of the pharmaceutical drug pitocin often ends up creating a situation where unborn babies are forced into unnaturally stressful or even hazardous situations. These types of scenarios, exacerbated by conventional medicine’s ‘time is money’ mentality, can result in both baby and mother being in distress or even life threatening crises, which in many cases ends up leading to a Caesarian.

Unfortunately there’s mounting evidence that this increasing tendency toward Caesarian births is truly not in the best interest of the baby on a variety of levels, not the least of which includes a disruption of the initial, natural establishment of healthy colonies of beneficial flora within the baby’s gut.

Microbes in the Birth Canal

During a normal vaginal birth, the baby’s mouth comes into direct contact with the bacteria lining its mother’s birth canal. Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, has stated that it is this initial exposure between the baby’s mouth and the mother’s own vaginal flora that is critical in establishing the beginnings of what will eventually become the newborn’s digestive microbiota.

When the mother’s own microbiome is healthy and functioning symbiotically, chances are this will be transferred to her baby, and this occurs to a large degree as a result of the natural passage of the infant through the microbe-rich environment of the mother’s vaginal mucosa.

Breast Milk is Best

Another fundamental way in which the newborn gut is inoculated with symbiotic colonies of flora is via the baby’s consumption of its mother’s breast milk.

Studies have shown that human breast milk contains hundreds of different strains of bacteria1, so it’s only logical to assume that suckling at the breast is yet another of Nature’s innate and completely natural methods of establishing a healthy microbiome within the digestive tracts of newborn babies.

Unfortunately, in much the same way that natural vaginal births have been being increasingly supplanted by elective or allopathically coerced C-sections, many women in the west are also eschewing breast feeding in favor of feeding their babies artificial, unnatural formulas.

Do Your Research

If you are pregnant or planning to conceive a child in the future, I can’t encourage you enough to thoroughly investigate and carefully consider all your options when deciding about how and where to give birth to your baby, and whether or not to breast feed your little one once he or she arrives.

The choices prospective parents make around these issues can and will have a significant and lasting impact on the health and well being of the children this generation brings into this world – not only just during their babies’ infancy, but also going forward over the long term throughout the course of their entire lives.

1 Breast Milk Contains More Than 700 Species of Bacteria, Spanish Researchers Find – Science Daily

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Category: Big Medical, Big Pharma, Birth | Serene, Birth | Traumatic, Conscious Birthing, Conscious Conception, Conscious Parenting, Digestive System, Friendly Flora, Gut Dysbiosis, Gut Symbiosis, Human Health, Immune System, Microbiome

Comments (4)

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  1. lindsey says:

    I had to have a c-section due to an emerg and me and my baby both being in trouble. Reading articles like this are upsetting, I am a natural health momma and sometimes c-sections are necessary to save both mom and babies.

    • Linda Zurich says:

      Thank you for your comments. And yes of course, sometimes c-sections are necessary for the health of the mother and/or the child, as I have made very clear in my post above.

  2. Beth says:

    I had to have a c-section because of complications but did breast feed. That was 34 years ago and if I had known about how bad vaccines are I would not have gotten any for my child. Do you recommend no vaccines at all for people and animals ? What do you recommend for teeth to prevent the need for a dentist ? What should a person do about their root canals and fillings ? Do you have a dentist or group you recommend ? I really appreciate your work. Thank you.

  3. Linda Zurich says:

    My best understanding is that vaccines are neither safe nor necessarily effective. Personally I do not recommend any vaccines, either for pets or for people. For oral health I suggest looking into the work of the Weston A. Price Foundation and Rami Nagel, author of the book Cure Tooth Decay. Amalgam fillings can be removed and replaced with non-mercury fillings. Root canals may develop into cavitations, which can be remediated surgically. I’d suggest looking ito the the work of Dr. Hal Huggins and/or the IAOMT – International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology.