Link Between Cesarean Section and Celiac Disease Further Defined

October 20, 2011

Link Between Cesarean Section and Celiac Disease Further Defined


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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 electivecesarean 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.

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