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Mothers should be advised of caesarean diabetes risk

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Nurses should advise expectant mothers of the increased risk of their child developing type 1 diabetes if they opt for a caesarean section, says the charity Diabetes UK.

A meta-analysis of 20 studies of children with type one diabetes found there was a 23% increased risk of the baby developing the condition compared to those born vaginally.

This risk only altered slightly (19%) when other factors such as birth weight, maternal age, order of birth, gestational diabetes and breast-feeding were taken into account, said the paper published in Diabetologica.

Twenty-four per cent of pregnancies in England are delivered by caesarean section whilst the WHO recommended rate per country is 15%.

Although some women have no choice in the matter due to emergencies and complications, those that do may want to consider this new finding when making choices over how they deliver their child, said Dr Iain Frame, Diabetes UK director of research.

Dr Chris Cardwell, lead researcher from Queen’s University in Belfast said: ‘It is important to stress that the reason for this is still not understood although it is possible that the Caesarean section itself is responsible, perhaps because babies born via that method are first exposed to bacteria originating from the hospital environment rather than to maternal bacteria.’

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