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Celiac Disease and C-Section
June 1, 2010
When news broke a couple weeks ago about a research study out of Germany reporting that children who develop celiac disease appear to be more likely born by c-section, I paid special attention. Rarely has a news items been so timely and personal – I’m a celiac delivered via c-section, and I’m just weeks away from my own delivery. I’m expecting my second daughter sometime next month.
But I was curious, why would c-sections have anything to do with celiac disease? What’s the connection?
One theory put forth is that the mode of delivery can impact the mix of bacteria in the newborn’s gut. As I understand it, a c-section is a ‘cleaner,’ more sterile delivery – in this case not necessarily a good thing – and it may contribute to abnormal intestinal bacteria that might make the newborn more vulnerable to celiac disease.
Because I was already hoping to avoid a c-section, I considered bringing up the study results with my obstetrician. But after reading up on the study, I decided against it. Not only would my doctor be likely to advise me that c-sections are reserved for medically necessary situations – and can be life-saving—if she was aware of the study specifics, I bet she wouldn’t put too much stock in it just yet. It’s the first time a link has been made between c-sections and celiac disease. Even if the association proves to be real one day, it’s a link, not a cause.
Still, I wonder—if I’m suddenly faced with a c-section, will this study come to my mind and send me into a small panic? I hope not. I’d like to be able to trust that the reasons for intervening with a c-section are far more compelling than this very preliminary information about celiac and c-sections.
I imagine we’ll learn more about the celiac/c-section connection in the future. For now, I’m focusing on enjoying the final days of this pregnancy. I’m trying to think less about the specifics of the delivery and more about the excitement of meeting my new daughter.