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New research says c-sections increase risk of type 1 diabetes in children

(45 Posts)
amitymama Tue 26-Aug-08 13:15:41

Just heard about this on the news and found the link. It basically says that a new study shows that babies born by caesarean have a 23% higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes because they are not exposed to maternal bacteria in a vaginal delivery but instead the hospital's bacteria, which means their but flora and immunity can be effected. The Diabetes Association (not sure if that's its exact name) says that they have been looking at how gut flora is involved in the incidence of diabetes and think the link could very well be valid.


amitymama Tue 26-Aug-08 13:16:39

Sorry, that should be 'gut flora' not 'BUT flora' blush

AtheneNoctua Tue 26-Aug-08 14:02:29

So, we should take gut flora from c-section mums and rub it on the babies? And this effects babies liklihood of developing diabete years later? Really?

Think you'll have to put me in the sceptic camp.

AtheneNoctua Tue 26-Aug-08 14:07:13

I wonder if this positive correlation is more a result of more diabetic mothers giving birth be caesarean. So the children's increased risk actually comes from their genetics, and not the method of delivery.

Anyone know if diabetics have a higher ceasarean risk than non-diabetics?

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 14:24:51

The report on the research said they'd adjusted results to take account of maternal weight, baby weight, maternal diabetes etc. and the correlation was still significant.

And the researchers said they didn't know why there was a link -- the bacteria thing is just one hypothesis.

(to answer the question, though, if you're an insulin-dependent diabetic then they normally want to deliver/induce at 38 weeks, which means there's a greater risk of needing a c-section)

AtheneNoctua Tue 26-Aug-08 14:29:14

Actually PandL, it says "The increased risk could not be explained by other factors such as birth weight, mother's age, order of birth, *pregnancy-related diabetes* or whether or not a baby was breast fed."

It doesn't say anything about mums who had type 1 or type 2 diabetes unrelated to the pregnancy. I think this is more than a small flaw in the findings.

AtheneNoctua Tue 26-Aug-08 14:31:25

I hate when I screw up the * * (bold).

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 14:41:06

I wasn't referring to that report, but to the abstract of the paper, which says "maternal diabetes" rather than "pregnancy-related diabetes" (experience has taught me not to place too much reliance on mainstream press summaries of research). Of course, there's not much point drawing profound conclusions one way or the other without reading the full text of the article, and I'm insufficiently interested to fork out the cash to do that...

fragola Tue 26-Aug-08 16:36:24

I've just had a quick glance through the full paper - one issue is that most of the studies that were included didn't record the reason for the c-section.

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 26-Aug-08 16:42:26

Message withdrawn

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 17:04:34

I thought the ff link was with type 2 diabetes -- is there a link to type 1 as well? (genuine question, this is all very interesting).

Abstract says they adjusted for breast-feeding, though.

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 17:05:45

(actually, I suppose that if they adjusted for bf there must be a link to type 1, otherwise they wouldn't have needed to adjust. D'oh! <switches brain back on>)

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 26-Aug-08 17:26:46

Message withdrawn

squeaver Tue 26-Aug-08 17:32:07

Sceptical as I am about this, can someone point me in the direction of symptoms to look for in Type 1 diabetes? Dd was a cs and I know that it can actually be a horrendous disease so want to be sure.

Am I right in saying it's things like excessive thirst, tiredness etc?

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 17:36:44

I suppose, to be fair, that this is the sort of "hmm, that's interesting" article that is designed to inspire someone to go off and do a properly designed and controlled study, rather than one that reaches profound conclusions in its own right.

tigger15 Tue 26-Aug-08 17:45:50

Squeaver those are signs that you should take her to the doctor to get checked.

For the sake of statistics, I have type 1 and was born by vb, my husband has no diabetes and was born by cs.

So I think I'll wait a bit longer before believing any rubbish reports in the newspaper.

squeaver Tue 26-Aug-08 17:47:56

Thanks Tigger. She doesn't have those symptoms so no worries. Just wondered if there was anything else or different things to look for in children.

AtheneNoctua Tue 26-Aug-08 17:53:21

Unexplained weight loss is also a sign of diabetes. You can buy a glucose monitor at any pharmacist for about £25 and give her e prick about an hour after a meal. This will give you a very good indication. Don't take my word for it, but I think a rating of over 8 is something to have checked out. If it's way up in the high teens, deffo make an appointment to see the GP.

I'm not sure if these numbers are the right guideline. Have a quick google for normal levels. And also look up the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT). You can replicate a GTT at home by having her eat glucose tablets, which are also readily available at a pharmacist.

But, if being born by caesarean is her only risk factor, I certainly wouldn't panic.

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 18:01:54

Bear in mind that type 1 diabetes only affects 1 in 1000 under-5s anyway. So even if being born by c/s results in a 23% increase in risk that's still only a 1 in 813 risk, which is hardly worth worrying about.

squeaver Tue 26-Aug-08 18:04:11

Thanks all. Actually my dad has a glucose monitor (family history n'all you see!) but I'm really not stressed by it.

This should be a useful thread for others too.

tangarine Tue 26-Aug-08 18:07:29

ds1 was a vb and developed T1 aged 5.

fledtoscotland Tue 26-Aug-08 22:21:19

just read the abstract. the major problem in this scare-mongering, sorry meta-analysis is that this is not new research, they are just rehashing existing statistics so if the existing statistics are flawed, this article is mince.

PortAndLemon Tue 26-Aug-08 23:25:16

I don't think the article itself is scaremongering. After all, it's written by diabetes specialists (who would quite like to genuinely find out what causes diabetes, even if only because they'd be in with a shot of a Nobel Prize if they did) in a specialist diabetes journal with a circulation of other diabetes specialists.

Press coverage of it is scaremongering, absolutely. But then that's usually the case with news reporting of any academic paper - there's an unwritten rule that it must be used as the basis for either scaremongering or trivialisation, and if neither of those is possible the research must be ridiculed by spectacularly missing the point.

Purplepillow Tue 26-Aug-08 23:30:27

I have two nieces and a nephew who were all born by cs and have all developed t1 diabetes although all at different ages.

AtheneNoctua Wed 27-Aug-08 08:41:52

Purple are there any other relevant variables? Like, does diabetes run in the family? Are they overweight?

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