Thursday, February 7, 2008

Some old news that's new to me

A study conducted by researchers from the National Public Health Institute in Kuopio, Finland (published in 2000 in the Journal of Asthma) found that certain birth interventions and complications can increase a child's risk of developing asthma. The researchers found the following increased risks:

* Cesarean Section - 38% increase in asthma

* Vacuum Extraction - 32% increase in asthma

* Forceps Delivery - 114% increase in asthma

I was surprised by the huge increase resulting from forceps deliveries. I generally consider c-sections the most invasive and complicated of birth procedures, but apparently forceps can be even more so! In the past I might have thought I would prefer a forceps delivery to a c-section, but now I'll have to do some more digging and see if I still feel that way.

For so long I have thought of asthma as something you're "born with" or inherit--something you can't prevent or cure. The more I learn, the more I wonder how many cases of asthma are the result of experiences or environment. Just today I read in the news that breastfeeding mothers' exposure to allergens may protect their infants from developing allergies, including asthma. Check out that news story here.

The take home message from all of this if you want to maximize your child's chances of avoiding asthma? Well, have an uncomplicated birth and breastfeed, of course! ;-)


Fig said...

Wow, how interesting! I've always wondered about asthma . . . I know people who have it, and it's such a weird thing to just "show up" in people. Why, in your educated opinion, do you suppose there's a link between non-normal births and asthma?

Lani said...

I know that babies born by c-sec tend to have more breathing difficulties. Labor and moving through the birth canal prepares their lungs for breathing, so it makes sense to me that they would be more likely to develop asthma. As far as the vacuum extractor and forceps deliveries... I really don't know. All I can figure is that they probably experience more stress in the birth process, and maybe that stress interferes with some important processes for preparing their lungs for life outside the womb?? I'm definitely intrigued to learn more!

Baby Keeper said...

Thanks for the great post and information. Forceps, Vacuum, and Csection also cause psychological and structural issues -- the ones that eventually take adults to chiropractors and psychologists.

William Emerson has studied the psychological impact of interventions for decades. His site is Also check out

Great blog.

Janel (under construction)