Caesarean delivery slows baby’s ability to focus: Study

LONDON: Prior to a new study, very little was known about how the birth experience influences a baby’s psychological and brain development, though earlier studies have shown that factors such as birth weight and the mother’s age impact child development.

But according to the study, being born in a Caesarean section negatively affects a baby’s ability to focus on a particular area of interest.

“Our research has revealed that being born by a C-section slows a baby’s spatial attention, which plays a role in its ability to focus on a particular area or object of interest,” said Scott Adler, professor at York University in Toronto, Canada.

For the study, 34 infants were presented with two types of object selection tasks, to measure the latency of eye movements in hundreds of milliseconds.

In a 30-minute session, the infants were on their backs with the stimuli above them on a screen, while infrared light tracked their eye movements.

The researchers found that babies delivered by natural birth were quicker in focusing attention on an object of interest than those delivered by Caesarean section.

According to Adler, these are very important findings, considering there is a steady increase in the number of babies delivered by Caesarean sections.

He also added that further research into this attention difference by examining whether the Caesarean was due to birthing complications or by choice, and whether it has a long term impact, will also offer insight into the reason for differences in spatial attention in children.

The study was published online in the journal Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.

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