This is a Washington Post article.....
Among the women who had Caesareans, crucial parts of their brains,
including those that regulate emotions such as empathy, were
significantly less responsive to their baby's cries, the researchers
report in a paper being published in the October issue of The
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. The more activity women
had in those parts of their brains the more they thought and worried
about their babies, the researchers also found.
When I spoke to Swain on the phone, he stressed that the study was
small and needs to be confirmed by additional research. But the
findings are potentially important because the Caesarean section
rate has increased sharply in the United States. About a third of
women are now giving birth that way. The increase is being fueled
by a variety of factors, including more women having babies at
older ages, more doctors jumping to a C-section at any sign of
a problem, and more women opting for a C-section for convenience.
Swain says the findings suggest that women who have had a C-section
may have a harder time bonding with their newborns, and could help
explain why women who have had Caesareans appear more likely to
suffer from post-partum depression.
You're probably wondering how having a C-section might affect
maternal instincts. Well, vaginal birth has many effects on a
woman's body, including boosting her levels of oxytocin --
a hormone that seems to play a key role in helping mothers
bond with their children. So the brains of women who have
Caesareans don't get primed by this bonding hormone.
Now, Swain says the findings shouldn't make anyone hesitate
to get a C-section if they need one for medical reasons.
And he has some unpublished data that indicate the negative
effects of having a C-section disappear within three or four months.
But the findings might offer another reason to try to avoid
unnecessary C-sections. It could also lead to ways to minimize
or compensate for any effects C-sections may have on a woman's
ability to bond with her baby.
Have you had a C-section? Any problems bonding with your baby afterwards?
By Rob Stein | September 4, 2008; 7:00 AM ET