Another Plus for Natural Birth

Benefits for Baby's Brain




A team of researchers at the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Connecticut, has found that vaginal birth triggers the expression of a protein, UCP2 (mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2), in the brains of newborns that improves brain development and function in adulthood. It influences neurons and circuits in the hippocampus, the area responsible for memory.

The protein is also involved in the cellular metabolism of fat, a key component of breast milk, suggesting that induction of UCP2 by natural birth may aid the transition to breastfeeding. The researchers also found that this protein expression is impaired in the brains of babies delivered by Caesarean section.

These results suggest, “The increasing prevalence of C-sections, driven by convenience rather than medical necessity, may have a previously unsuspected lasting effect on brain development and function in humans,” observes Tamas Horvath, chair of Yale’s Department of Comparative Medicine.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Prenatal Omega-3 Reduces Kids’ Asthma Risk

Babies born to mothers given 2.4 grams of omega-3 supplements in the third trimester of pregnancy had nearly a third lower risk of experiencing asthma by age 5.

Exercising Women Have Fewer C-Sections

Women that worked out regularly during pregnancy had fewer cesarean deliveries and a lower risk of hypertension and diabetes.

Breast Milk Supports Preemies’ Developing Brains

In a study of 77 premature infants, those that received at least half of their diet from breast milk had larger brain volumes, a possible indicator of better cognitive development.

Breastfed Babies Have Fewer Colds and Ear Infections

A six-year Texan study found that prolonged breastfeeding reduces both sniffles and painful earaches in newborns.

Prenatal Sun Exposure Lowers Asthma Risk

Perhaps because of the natural vitamin D supplied by sunlight, researchers found that children are less likely to have asthma if their mothers lived in a sunny location during the second trimester of pregnancy.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags