According to new research, children born by c-section are five times more likely to develop allergies than those born naturally.

The data, presented during the 2013 meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, builds on previous studies showing that the method of delivery during childbirth could affect neonatal immune response.

The most recent study, conducted by researchers from Henry Ford Data, involved data from 572 children, collected at one month, six months, one year and two years of age. The goal was to examine the relationship of delivery type to food allergies in early childhood.

Among children born by C-section, the food allergen sensitivity rate was 40.9 percent at the age of two years, five times higher than the rate of sensitivities among children born naturally.

Research Supports Hygiene Hypothesis

“This further advances the hygiene hypothesis that early childhood exposure to microorganisms affects the immune system’s development and onset of allergies,” writes Dr. Christine Cole Johnson, chair of the Henry Ford Hospital department of health sciences. “We believe a baby’s exposure to bacteria in the birth canal is a major influencer on their immune system.”

Does this hypothesis hold true for your own experiences with food allergic children?

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