Cesarean section and development of the immune system in the offspring

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Apr;208(4):249-54. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.08.009. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


This review examines the relation between the mode of delivery and development of the immune system in the offspring. Recent epidemiological studies provide evidence that elective cesarean section (CS) is associated with aberrant short-term immune responses in the newborn infant, and a greater risk of developing immune diseases such as asthma, allergies, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. However, it is still unknown whether CS causes a long-term effect on the immune system of the offspring that contributes to compromised immune health. With the dramatic increase in the rate of CS today, a greater emphasis should be placed on the discussion among both professionals and childbearing women on potential consequences of CS on the health of the offspring.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cesarean Section / adverse effects*
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiopathology
  • Immune System Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Immune System Diseases / etiology
  • Immune System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Risk Factors