Positive association found in elective, not emergency, C-section delivery.
Previous studies have suggested that children born through cesarean section face an increased risk of developing celiac disease, but the findings were “inconsistent,” according to a team of Swedish and American researchers. Now, the team has discovered that the positive association may be limited to elective C-sections.
In a study of 11,749 children with biopsy-verified celiac disease and 53,887 controls, the researchers found that children born through elective cesarean delivery had an increased risk of celiac disease compared to controls, but those born through emergency C-section did not face an increased risk. In addition, the researchers noted a 21% increased risk of celiac disease in infants who were "born small for gestational age."
The researchers concluded:
“The positive association with elective, but not emergency, cesarean delivery is consistent with the hypothesis that the bacterial flora of the newborn plays a role in the development of celiac disease.”
For more information, see the abstract in Gastroenterology.