London: Babies, who are delivered by Caesarean section, miss out on protective bugs which could help prevent a host of disorders like asthma and allergies in childhood and later life, researchers have warned.
Significant differences in the gut bacteria were found in infants born surgically and naturally.
The researchers said that the findings will increase concern about potential lifelong effects for the baby from the increasing rate of Caesarean sections being done.
Although the exact causes are unknown, Caesarean babies could be missing out on physiological changes which happened during labour including exposure to bugs that are necessary for the immune system to develop.
For the study, researchers looked at data on 24 healthy infants, as part of the larger Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development study, who were representative of Canadian newborns with 25 percent being born by Caesarean and 42 percent breastfed exclusively at 4 months of age.
The scientists used new DNA sequencing technique to find the gut bacterial composition of the babies, a technique that allows detection of virtually all the bugs present.
the study report said that the potential long-term consequences of decisions regarding mode of delivery and infant diet are "not to be underestimated."
"Infants born by Caesarean delivery are at increased risk of asthma, obesity and type 1 diabetes, whereas breastfeeding is variably protective against these and other disorders," the report said.
The study has been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.