This site is intended for health professionals only

Caesarean 'lessens bond with baby'

Women are more emotionally responsive to the cries of their babies if they give birth naturally, scientists have found.

The findings, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, showed that those who had Caesarean deliveries were significantly less sensitive to the sound of their own babies crying.

Parts of their brains believed to regulate emotions, motivation and habitual behaviour were not as strongly activated as they were in natural birth mothers.

Researchers believe the difference may be explained by a "bonding" hormone released in the brain during labour.

Oxytocin, known as the "love hormone" or "cuddle chemical", creates feelings of attachment in both humans and animals. It is also produced in women during breast feeding, and also sex.

Between 10% and 20% of all births in the UK are now delivered by Caesarean section.

Caesarean deliveries may be advised for health reasons, but increasingly they are being seen as a "lifestyle choice". The "too posh to push" tag has been applied in the media to women who pay for private Caesareans.

Women who delay motherhood are more likely to have the operation because child birth risks increase with age.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

Click here to see full article