Does Having a Baby Via Cesarean Section Predispose to Allergies?

Operating room nurse bringing baby to mother after c-section
C-section and allergies. Westend61 / Getty Images

Question: Does Having a Baby Via Cesarean Section Predispose to Allergies?


Yes, it appears so. Having a baby by Cesarean section, or simply “c-section,” has become more popular in the past 10 years. While c-sections are often performed in the best interest of the mother or baby, many of these c-sections are voluntary. Moms-to-be like the idea of controlling when their baby will be born, like the idea of avoiding labor, as well as like the idea of not stretching out the skin and surrounding tissues of the pelvis that vaginal delivery entails.

But, having a baby actually pass through the birth canal, such that occurs with a vaginal delivery, may have some benefits to the baby. The baby is exposed to microorganisms in the vagina that may alter the baby’s own intestinal microorganisms. This may have an important impact on the baby’s immune system as well as affecting the baby’s risk for allergic diseases.

A study from 2008 followed over 400 children (whose parents had asthma or allergies) from birth to 9 years of age to assess the risk of allergic disease occurring after c-section. Surprisingly, those children who were delivered via c-section were twice as likely to have positive allergy tests, as well as the development of allergic rhinitis by age 9. However, there was no increase in the rate of asthma in children delivered by c-section compared to those children delivered vaginally.

Therefore, moms-to-be who have a history of allergies or asthma (or if the father-to-be has allergies or asthma) should think twice about having a voluntary c-section given the increased risk of allergic disease to the baby.

Of course, when a c-section is performed for medically necessary reasons, this small increased risk of allergic disease in the baby may not be as concerning as any serious risk posed to the mother or baby that may occur as a result of a choosing to deliver vaginally.

Learn more about the prevention of allergic diseases in children.


Pistiner M, et al. Birth by Cesarean Section, Allergic Rhinitis, and Allergic Sensitization Among Children With a Parental History of Atopy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008; 122:274-9.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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