Pre-labor and post-labor cesarean delivery and early childhood adiposity in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Cohort Study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Delivery by cesarean section (CS) compared to vaginal delivery has been associated with increased risk of overweight in childhood. Our study examined if the presence or absence of labor events in CS delivery altered risk of overweight in early childhood (1-5 years) compared to vaginal delivery and if this association differed according to infant sex. SUBJECTS/METHODS: The study included 3073 mother-infant pairs from the CHILD Cohort Study in Canada. Data from birth records were used to categorize infants as having been vaginally delivered, or delivered by CS, with or without labor events. Age and sex adjusted weight-for-length (WFL) and body mass index (BMI) z scores were calculated from height and weight data from clinic visits at 1, 3 and 5 years and used to classify children as overweight. Associations between delivery mode and child overweight at each timepoint were assessed using regression models, adjusting for relevant confounding factors including maternal pre-pregnancy BMI. Effect modification by infant sex was tested. RESULTS: One in four infants (24.6%) were born by CS delivery; 13.0% involved labor events and 11.6% did not. Infants born by CS without labor had an increased odds of being overweight at age 1 year compared to vaginally delivered infants after adjustment for maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, maternal diabetes, smoking, infant sex and birthweight-for-gestational age (aOR 1.68 [95% CI 1.05-2.67]). These effects did not persist to 3 or 5 years of age and, after stratification by sex, were only seen in boys (aOR at 1 year 2.21 [95% CI 1.26-3.88]). CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: Our findings add to the body of evidence that CS, in particular CS without labor events, may be a risk factor for overweight in early life, and that this association may be sex-specific. These findings could help to identify children at higher risk for developing obesity.


  • Bridgman, Sarah L
  • Penfold, Suzanne
  • Field, Catherine J
  • Haqq, Andrea M
  • Mandhane, Piushkumar J
  • Moraes, Theo J
  • Turvey, Stuart E
  • Simons, Elinor
  • Subbarao, Padmaja
  • Kozyrskyj, Anita L

publication date

  • May 2024