Children Delivered by Cesarean Section Have a Higher Risk of ADHD, ASD, and Intellectual Disability

December 05, 2022

Cesarean Delivery’s Impact on the Infant Gut Microbiome Could Elevate Risk

A new population-based study has investigated the neurodevelopmental risks of children delivered by Cesarean section (CS) compared to those born via vaginal delivery (VD). Specifically, this study examined the risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and intellectual disabilities among children born by CS. Included in this research were all liveborn children from 2004 to 2016 with information on gestational age at birth in the Taiwan Maternal and Child Health Database. The study included 675,718 and 1,208,983 children delivered by CS and VD, respectively. After reviewing the children’s records and running an analysis, the authors concluded that children delivered by CS had significantly higher risks of ADHD, ASD, and intellectual disability than those born by VD. The authors propose that the association may be related to the imbalances in the infant gut microbiome caused by CS. The team points out that alterations in the gut microbiome caused by CS influence neural and immune responses in the brain, affecting brain development, and contributing to neuropathological disorders. The authors also state that delayed neurological adaptation has been previously associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in children delivered by CS. The authors conclude their study by calling for additional research investigating all potential causes of neurodevelopmental disorders in children born via CS. 

Study Abstract

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