Sydney: Babies delivered vaginally receive protective bacteria as they pass through the birth canal, a scientist says.
Infants born by caesarean section, however, are more vulnerable to asthma, allergies and infection as they miss out on receiving mothers`` good bacteria, according to Professor Patricia Conway, of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of NSW.
According to the expert, the bacteria, left on the baby`s skin, could then colonize the intestine and help inoculate newborns against hospital bugs, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Gut flora was also crucial for developing a balanced immune system, Professor Conway said.
"With a C-section, the newborn baby misses an opportunity to pick up a lot of mum`s good bacteria," she said.
She added: "This can have long-term health implications, as the development of a good intestinal ecosystem is necessary for health and immunity to allergies, from childhood right through to adulthood."