Having two cesarean-section (c-section) babies I felt all along that the way they entered into the world might make them different. I began to formally "research" this matter by speaking with other mothers of c-section babies and asking them questions. Over time it seemed clear to me that the answers were strikingly similar. We noticed physical similarities as well as similarities in personalities in our children, it was eyeopening - eczema, allergies, breathing problems, easy to catch colds and flus, etc......
During the month of March Sacred has chosen to focus on Breath as our theme of the month. As part of that theme we have been addressing respiratory illness in both adults and children. When addressing childhood respiratory issues, I felt compelled to write about how the way a first breath is taken impacts their life. In this blog post I will address the connection between c-section babies and respiratory problems. Research has shown that giving birth by c-section increases a child's risk of developing respiratory problems compared to babies born vaginally.
Here are some interesting facts about c-section births:
1. The U.S. c-section rate is much higher and has been increasing steadily for more than a decade. About one mother in three now gives birth by cesarean section, a record level for the United States.
2. There is a disproportionately higher rate of primary c-sections among African-American women.
3. Many health professionals and/or hospitals are unwilling to offer the informed choice of vaginal birth to women in certain circumstances. Nine out of ten women with a previous cesarean section are having repeat cesareans. Few women with a fetus in a breech position have the option for vaginal birth.
4. C-sections are an especially efficient way for professionals to organize hospital work, office work and personal life. Average hospital charges are much greater for cesarean than vaginal birth, and hospitals profit.
For the purpose of this blog we will examine what happens in the birth canal that is different than what happens during a c-section delivery. While baby travels through the birth canal, his body begins to produce two hormones: adrenaline and noradrenaline. Baby's body will never again produce such high amounts of these two chemicals. The adrenaline aids your baby in adjusting to the air environment he will soon encounter. This chemical opens up his lungs and dries out his bronchi, preparing him to breathe. The noradrenaline works to slow your baby's heartbeat. This helps him to go without oxygen for a prolonged period as he works his way out of the birth canal. None of this happens with a c-section delivery.
New studies are emerging that shows that c-section rather than vaginal deliveries may raise the risk of childhood asthma and allergies by interfering with the child's immune system development. One recent study conducted by the American Thoracic Society suggests that babies born via c-section have impaired immune cell function because of suppression of regulatory T cells, which regulate the development and function of the immune system.
Having the knowledge that my children are at higher risk for mild to serious lung and breathing problems along with an immune system not functioning to capacity with that vaginal birth babies, has helped me developed the following protocol for building the immune systems and the health of their lungs. While this protocol is beneficial to children delivered by c-section, it can also work well with all children with respiratory health issues.
Some herbs that can help build a child's immune:
Reshi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum)- Used to strengthen the immune system, protect against allergies, wheezing, weakness and strengthen lungs. Has oxygenating properties and has been used for altitude sickness.
Astragulus Root (Astragulus membranaceus)- It a potent immune builder, prevents fatigue, low energy, and keeps cold and damp out strengthens the lungs.
Echinacea (Echinacea Purpurea) - It stimulates the immune system and increases the replication rate and production of T-cells. It also stimulates the release of interferons. And can be given to a child at the first signs of a cold or flu.
Some herbs that can build the health of your child's lungs:
Licorice Root (Glycrrhiza glabra) - has anti-inflammatory properties and can be taken on a regular basis for prevention.
Mullein Leaf (Verbascum thapsus)- Tones the lining of the lungs and reduces inflammation.
Elecampagne Root (Inula Helenium) - A Respiratory tonic helpful for reducing chronic respiratory congestion and respiratory infections.
To wrap this up, using herbal medicine with your children is a great way to bond with your child, teach responsibility and respect for plants, the environment and the earth. Taking time with your child during illness is a requisite for healing. Turn your full attention to your child and they will respond quickly on all levels. When using herbal remedies with your children you need to develop both knowledge and experience. Seek out those at are knowledgeable in herbalism and are willing to assist you when you have questions or require further resources - like the staff at Sacred!