Elective and nonelective cesarean section and obesity among young adult male offspring: A Swedish population–based cohort study

Autoři: Viktor H. Ahlqvist aff001;  Margareta Persson aff002;  Cecilia Magnusson aff001;  Daniel Berglind aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Global Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden aff001;  Department of Nursing, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden aff002;  Centre for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Region Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: Elective and nonelective cesarean section and obesity among young adult male offspring: A Swedish population–based cohort study. PLoS Med 16(12): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002996
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002996



Previous studies have suggested that cesarean section (CS) is associated with offspring overweight and obesity. However, few studies have been able to differentiate between elective and nonelective CS, which may differ in their maternal risk profile and biological pathway. Therefore, we aimed to examine the association between differentiated forms of delivery with CS and risk of obesity in young adulthood.

Methods and findings

Using Swedish population registers, a cohort of 97,291 males born between 1982 and 1987 were followed from birth until conscription (median 18 years of age) if they conscripted before 2006. At conscription, weight and height were measured and transformed to World Health Organization categories of body mass index (BMI). Maternal and infant data were obtained from the Medical Birth Register. Associations were evaluated using multinomial and linear regressions. Furthermore, a series of sensitivity analyses were conducted, including fixed-effects regressions to account for confounders shared between full brothers. The mothers of the conscripts were on average 28.5 (standard deviation 4.9) years old at delivery and had a prepregnancy BMI of 21.9 (standard deviation 3.0), and 41.5% of the conscripts had at least one parent with university-level education.

Out of the 97,291 conscripts we observed, 4.9% were obese (BMI ≥ 30) at conscription. The prevalence of obesity varied slightly between vaginal delivery, elective CS, and nonelective CS (4.9%, 5.5%, and 5.6%, respectively), whereas BMI seemed to be consistent across modes of delivery. We found no evidence of an association between nonelective or elective CS and young adulthood obesity (relative risk ratio 0.96, confidence interval 95% 0.83–1.10, p = 0.532 and relative risk ratio 1.02, confidence interval 95% 0.88–1.18, p = 0.826, respectively) as compared with vaginal delivery after accounting for prepregnancy maternal BMI, maternal diabetes at delivery, maternal hypertension at delivery, maternal smoking, parity, parental education, maternal age at delivery, gestational age, birth weight standardized according to gestational age, and preeclampsia. We found no evidence of an association between any form of CS and overweight (BMI ≥ 25) as compared with vaginal delivery. Sibling analysis and several sensitivity analyses did not alter our findings. The main limitations of our study were that not all conscripts had available measures of anthropometry and/or important confounders (42% retained) and that our cohort only included a male population.


We found no evidence of an association between elective or nonelective CS and young adulthood obesity in young male conscripts when accounting for maternal and prenatal factors. This suggests that there is no clinically relevant association between CS and the development of obesity. Further large-scale studies are warranted to examine the association between differentiated forms of CS and obesity in young adult offspring.

Trial registration

Registered as observational study at ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03918044.

Klíčová slova:

Birth weight – Body Mass Index – Cesarean section – Labor and delivery – Obesity – Preeclampsia – Swedish people


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