According to a new study posted on Science Daily on Monday, cesarean section do not provide a healthier alternative to the vaginal birth of twins. In fact, twins can be delivered safely without the use of assisted delivery devices.
The study, which will be presented at the 2013 Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting on Feb. 14, enrolled 2,804 women giving birth at 106 centers in 25 countries across North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.
There are important details that need pointed out. First, the study looked at births from healthy pregnancies, where there was no indication of complications.
The researchers only enrolled women on the verge of delivering, whose first fetus was in the head-down position. So these results don't pertain to women giving birth to twins when the first twin is in the breech position — backside or feet first. It's important to take note, however, that breech position is not necessarily an indicator for a planned cesarean. Doctors trained in breech births generally have no problem delivering one or both breech twins.
Their research reveals no advantage in choosing cesarean births in these types of twins. In fact, planned cesarean birth does not decrease perinatal/neonatal death versus planned vaginal birth.
Cesarean sections alter baby's gut flora and affect lifelong health
Another interesting find Cesarean section births may put babies at higher risk for lifelong health problems by altering the amount of “good” bacteria in an infant’s gut.
“The infant gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong health,” the researchers write in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Among other things, bacteria prime a baby’s immune system, providing protection against disease-causing organisms.
“We want parents (and physicians) to realize that their decisions regarding C-section and breastfeeding can impact their infant’s gut microbiome and this can have potentially lifelong effects on the child’s health,” author Meghan Azad, of the University of Alberta, said in a statement released with the study.
"My advice to a woman pregnant with twins is that she should attempt to find an OBGYN that is trained in vaginal birth, as there is no harm," said Dr. John Barrett, of Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, University of Toronto, Women and Babies Program, and one of the study's authors.