Auckland researchers are launching a study to find out whether cesarean births are associated with asthma and childhood obesity.
It's widely speculated that both are related, the more we become aware of bacteria or damage to our gut and what it does to our health.
One third of all adults in New Zealand are overweight and one third of all children are overweight or obese in the country on the day they start school.
Researchers at the Auckland University's Ligin Institute are now suspecting that there is a link between intestinal flora, also known as microbiote, and obesity.
Leading researcher Wayne Kutfield is wondering if the suggestion that the caesarean section might be associated with an increased risk of obesity is true.
"The speculation is that children born in the caesarean section do not affect the microbial of their mother's vaginal and oral and oral cavity during this delivery," said Prof Cutfield.
"Infants have relatively sterile gut immediately before childbirth, and obviously early colonization of this gut microbiome is really important."
He said that children born in the chosen section of the Caesarean will "not be exposed to their mother's microbial, and their intestines will be inhabited by environmental bacteria that are probably less healthy. So what was proposed is the cause of the relationship between cesarean [birth] and a 30 percent increased risk of obesity in children, and actually increases the risk of asthma by 30 percent. "
He is about to check whether there is a difference between the intestinal bacteria in the C-section of babies who have received a small amount of maternal microbiomes shortly after delivery and the non-treated C-section infants.
"What we are going to do is take the mother's secretion – vaginal and perineal secretions – into the sterile aqueous solution and give the children oral, because if babies are born for several hours, the stomach does not contain acid," said prof. Cutfield
He said that adult stomachs are highly acidic that could kill such bacteria.
"But only a few hours after childbirth, its stomach is not sour and bacteria are ingested and go to the intestines where we want them to be."
The latest preliminary data from the Ministry of Health show that last year there were 16,423 C births in the country and that the proportion of selected segments of the Cesarean last year rose from 10.3 percent in 2008 to 12.6 percent.
Prof. Cutfield said that many twins were born with an optional C-section and the trial collected twins during the trial using birth control groups that have registries of these situations.
"If the study is positive and treatment with the mother's microbioma actually enhances the health and well-being of children in the context of obesity and asthma, it will be a simple tool to increase and promote."
Auckland midwife Nicholas Walker said that 20 of his C-section patients require a procedure known as a "seeder" where the mother's microbiome passes to the baby near the birth after swab technique: "After birth, the baby, usually within an hour and a half, has the ability to take a swab and easy to paint the baby's nose and mouth, lips, ears and eyes, as well as the lower part of the baby where the bacteria are essentially trying to penetrate the baby's body. "
Dr. Walker said that those who asked for it had thought about it and strongly wanted it.
He said that bacteria such as e-coli and group B streptococci could be linked to the secretion of the mother's microbiome, but it could also be vaginal birth.
"I do not think that there is evidence of harm, and this can be a benefit, and if there is no harm, I think it is wise to do that," he said about the "sowing" procedure.
Auckland's mother and healthcare professional, whom RNZ agreed to call Susan, said she had done this for her first child two and a half years ago and, if the midwife completed it, her second child was born in Sequence C for medical reasons, 10 days ago.
"I can not really control what happens to my baby's birth, but it was something I could promote and hopefully it changed," Susan said.
She said that both children are doing well.
"I think they are wonderful. I think it's pretty hard to say if the seed has had any effect on them before, but I think it was one thing that I could control in a rather uncontrollable situation because it really could not choose how they were born. "
Prof. Cutfield said that they would know within 15 months of the year when the gut bacteria were different in children born to C-sections treated and untreated.
However, whether C-sections increase the risk of obesity, it would not be known for up to five years.