Is there an increased frequency of food allergy in children delivered by caesarean section compared to those delivered vaginally?

Acta Paediatr. 2009 Feb;98(2):324-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2008.01074.x. Epub 2008 Oct 23.


Aim: Allergic diseases are increasing. At the same time an increasing number of children are delivered by caesarean section. These children do not get the same contact with their mother's gut flora as babies delivered vaginally. Theoretically, lack of exposure to maternal vaginal and perineal bacteria might change the gut flora, with secondary changes in the immune system. The aim of this study was to investigate whether children delivered by caesarean section were more prone to develop food allergy.

Methods: Six hundred and nine children were included at birth. At 2-year follow-up, 512 children participated, 171 delivered by caesarean section, 341 born vaginally. The children reported to have symptoms consistent with possible food allergy, were examined at the outpatient clinic. The diagnosis was based on the history, skin prick test (SPT), specific IgE, elimination/challenge test and double blind placebo controlled challenge.

Results: Thirty-five (6.8%) children were diagnosed with adverse reactions to food, 27 with non-IgE-mediated and eight with IgE-mediated allergy. There was no over representation of children born by caesarean section.

Conclusion: In this study there seems to be no increased risk for food allergy in the first 2 years of life in children delivered by caesarean section.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Delivery, Obstetric
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Food Hypersensitivity / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Infant