Does it really make a difference whether your baby is born vaginally or by caesarean?

The more we learn about life and birth, the more we are realising just how impactful the way of birth is and how it impacts the future health of your newborn.

During labour, your baby is pushed and squeezed down the vagina. The contractions are giving the baby deep hugs and touch, reassuring the baby he is not in this journey alone, but you will be there with him. This puts the sensory part of his body into correct working. Passing through the vagina, the baby is covered with vaginal fluid which is lubricating the baby’s journey. Vaginal fluid contains good vaginal micro-organisms that are essential for your baby to start developing his immune system. The vaginal fluid goes into the baby’s eyes, nose, mouth, he swallows it, it totally covers him. This is the baby’s first dose of immunisation. As baby is pushed out the vagina, he passes in close proximity of the mother’s anus – where he gets his second dose of micro-organisms that are essential to him – Bifido bacteria from the mother’s gut. As mom pushes baby out, a normal occurrence is that she often passes a bit of poo ensuring the baby comes into getting his dose of mom’s healthy gut micro-organisms. This is essential for his long-term health. As he is born baby is put skin to skin on mom’s chest – here baby explores his new environment. How does a new baby explore? – he uses his mouth to explore. So, he licks moms’ skin and gets some of her healthy skin micro-organisms – his third dose of immunity. Baby is put to the breast to suckle and here he gets his fourth dose, also containing Bifido bacteria from the breast milk. The body knows that this is the good bacteria that is needed for healthy immunity. The body know these have to have arrived in the correct order. Later the body starts rejecting the rest of the micro-organisms as it knows these are ones that are not healthy for the baby. So, if a baby has a caesarean birth, what then? The first few doses of immunity are from hospital micro-organisms – not healthy essential ones from mom. These micro-organisms put the baby’s immune system on an unhealthy life path – a life path of chronic disease such as obesity, depression, anxiety, diabetes etc.

Obviously, if at all possible it is beneficial for the baby under normal circumstances to have a vaginal birth – that is how birth is designed and meant to be. However, if there is a life-threatening emergency with mom or baby, it is obviously essential for mom and baby to have a caesarean. 15-19% of births are the acceptable rate for caesareans births.

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