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Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Dec 1;174(11):1275-85. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr242. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Delivery by Cesarean section and early childhood respiratory symptoms and disorders: the Norwegian mother and child cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Chronic Diseases, Division of Epidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Oslo.


Studies have indicated that children delivered by cesarean section are at an increased risk of developing wheezing and asthma. This could be the result of an altered immune system development due to delayed gut colonization or of increased neonatal respiratory morbidity. The authors examined the associations between delivery by cesarean section and the development of wheezing, asthma, and recurrent lower respiratory tract infections in children up to 36 months of age among 37,171 children in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Generalized linear models were used in the multivariable analysis. Children delivered by cesarean section had an increased likelihood of current asthma at 36 months of age (relative risk = 1.17, 95% confidence interval: 1.03, 1.32), and the association was stronger among children of nonatopic mothers (relative risk = 1.33, 95% confidence interval: 1.12, 1.58). No increased risk of wheezing or recurrent lower respiratory tract infections was seen among children delivered by cesarean section. Findings were similar among children delivered by acute and elective cesarean section. In conclusion, children delivered by cesarean section may have an increased risk of current asthma at 36 months, but residual confounding cannot be excluded. In future prospective studies, investigators should reexamine this association in different age groups.

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