Tags: vaginal | birth | brain | baby

Natural Birth Triggers Brain-boosting Proteins

Friday, 10 August 2012 10:52 AM

Natural childbirth may trigger brain-boosting proteins in newborns that help improve their cognitive development and function in adulthood – a biological process that is not as strong in Cesarean section deliveries, new research shows.
The findings, by Yale School of Medicine researchers, suggest vaginal childbirth may offer mental health advantages to children, compared to C-section babies.
The study, published in Public Library of Science journal PLOS ONE, examined the impact of natural and surgical deliveries on a protein known as UCP2 in mice in laboratory studies. UCP2 is important for the development of regions of the brain tied to short- and long-term memory. It is also key to the metabolism of fat, a primary component of breast milk, suggesting UCP2 may aid the transition to breastfeeding.
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The researchers found that vaginal births triggered the release of UCP2 in the brains of newborns, but the effect was diminished in the brains of those born via C-section.
"These results reveal a potentially critical role of UCP2 in the proper development of brain circuits and related behaviors," said lead researcher Tamas Horvath, chairman of the Department of Comparative Medicine at Yale School of Medicine.
"The increasing prevalence of C-sections driven by convenience rather than medical necessity may have a previously unsuspected lasting effect on brain development and function in humans as well."
The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health.
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Natural childbirth, but not C-section, triggers proteins in babies' brains that boost cognitive development.
Friday, 10 August 2012 10:52 AM
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