According to a world-first study conducted by the University of Melbourne, caesarean-born children appear to perform below their peers in grammar and problem solving.
Reasearchers from the University measured cognitive performance of 5000 Australian children who were born vaginally and via c-section using NAPLAN results and data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
The study, which was published via peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports, revealed different bacteria in the guts of babies delivered via caesarian could be responsible for the delay.
Professor of physiology Joel Bornstein told the ABC, 'Immediately after caesarean birth, the bacteria present are different from those that are present after a vaginal birth. There’s quite a lot of data now indicating that the gut bacteria influence the nervous system'.
'So we believe, although there’s no way of proving it at this point, that this may be the difference that leads to the cognitive changes later on in life,' he concluded.
The study revealed children born via C-section had small delays in their grammar, numeracy, reading and writing skills between the ages of four to nine.
Melbourne University's Cain Polidano told the ABC, 'There is already a bit of evidence that shows that caesarian birth is related to a number of negative childhood health outcomes, including risks of ADHD, autism and also asthma.'
'So our research speaks to that literature which shows that there's a link, but what we do now is look at impacts on another outcome, which is child development,' Dr Polidano said.
The World Health Organisations recommended figure for caesarian births in developed countries is 15 per cent, but 30 per cent of all Australian births are done via caesarean.
The researchers said their study proved the need for a precautionary approach toward pre-planned c-sections when there is no apparent risks for vaginal birth.