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! ;-)