The study was carried out shortly after it was found that planned caesarean births have reached record levels around the world.
In response to this, the study looked at whether having a planned caesarean section put babies at risk of health complications such as asthma.
Data from 300,000 Scottish births between 1993 and 2007 was used to conduct the research and was published in the American Medical Association journal (JAMA).
The study showed that asthma, which involved hospital admission, occurred in 37% of 1,000 children born by caesarean section in comparison to 34% of 1,000 children born vaginally.
Lead Author of the study, Dr Mairead Black said: “The current thinking is, if a baby is exposed to labour then it is also exposed to ‘good bacteria’ that mothers pass on during the birth, and they are also exposed to a degree of natural stress at the time of birth that might make them more resistant to developing future illnesses.”
The World Health Organisation has recommended that no more than 15% of births should be through caesarean section. However, the UK’s current caesarean rate is 26%, with almost half of these pre-planned.
Commenting on the research, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, Louise Silverton said: “This adds to the growing body of evidence about the potential impacts on the baby of having a caesarean section. Global rates of caesarean section are increasing, including the UK, and this is something that we should all be concerned about.”
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