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Birth Forward Press Release

Caesarean born kids have higher long term health risks

The way we give birth has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. Some leading scientists are warning that these changes could have serious repercussions for the lifelong health of our children. “MICROBIRTH” is a new feature-length documentary and the premiere had over 700 screenings worldwide on Saturday 20th September 2014. Birth Forward, a volunteer group of health professionals and parents that under the auspices of the Ministry of Health has organised the island wide premiere sponsored by K-cineplex to raise awareness about the importance of natural birth and beyond.

With 230 people showing up in Cyprus, Veronika Christodoulides, founder member of Birth Forward is very happy with the outcome. “Considering that we are just a few volunteers, that is a great success for such a premiere. We were very happy about the many parents-to-be that came, especially because there is no culture of actively preparing or informing yourself about birth and pregnancy in Cyprus, in comparison to countries like Germany or England where every couple visits a birth preparation class-” Those who couldn’t make it today the next public screening in Cyprus will be at the Mind, Body and Spirit Expo in November. Maria Theodorou, founder member of Birth Forward, is “overwhelmed by the support and interest from the nationwide associations and is looking forward to an active dialogue between the public, the midwives and the health authorities.

Birth Forward is a new island wide collective group of volunteers, consisting of professionals in the fields of birth and child development (such as midwives, paediatricians, chiropractors, physical Therapists and more) but also passionate parents who are business coaches, workshop facilitators, IT specialists and event organisers. Eline Pedersen, a Doctor of Chiropractic and Birth Assistant and initiator and founder member of Birth forward is dedicated to make a change to the current birth statistics in Cyprus. She says ‘’Over the years I met many men and women with a similar passion for natural birth and breastfeeding and I gather them all to see what we could do together to make a change.’’

What makes Birth Forward special is that they come from both perspectives:

  • Professionals working in the health sector but also
  • Parents who went through the Cypriot system.

Additionally their members bring in a lot of European experiences since they have given birth and worked in Cyprus as well as in different European countries and see a gap of awareness and education about natural pre-conception, pregnancy, birth & beyond that they want to fill. As ambassadors, they want to physically and mentally support and prepare, both women and men on their transformational path of becoming parents, so they can give their children the best possible start in life.

Birth Forward’s vision is to nurture and promote a supportive community of conscious, loving adults who have the ability to make connected, informed and empowered decisions about natural pre-conception, pregnancy, birth & beyond.

The Movie

Featuring prominent scientists from the UK and North America, “Microbirth” examines how modern birth practices could be interfering with critical biological processes potentially making our children more susceptible to disease later in life.

Recent population studies have shown babies born by Caesarean Section have approximately a 20% increased risk of developing asthma, 20% increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes, a similar risk with obesity and slightly smaller increases with gastro-intestinal conditions like Crohn’s disease or coeliac disease. These conditions are all linked to the immune system.

“Microbirth” explores several possible explanations. If a baby is born by Caesarean Section, scientists hypothesise this could alter the “seeding” of the baby’s microbiome, the critical transfer of good bacteria from mother to baby at birth. Scientists suggest that this could lead to the baby’s immune system not developing to its full potential. Another hypothesis is the actual process of vaginal birth, including the cocktail of hormones produced during labour, could profoundly affect the baby’s immune regulation and metabolism.

Dr Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, says, “Over the past 20-30 years, we’ve seen dramatic increases in childhood asthma, type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease, childhood obesity. We’ve also seen increases in Caesarean delivery. Does Caesarean cause these conditions? No. What Caesarean does is not allow the baby to be seeded with the microbes. The immune system doesn’t mature. And the metabolism changes. It’s the immune dysfunction and the changes in metabolism that we now know contribute to those diseases and conditions.”

Dr Matthew Hyde, Research Associate of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College London says, ”We are increasingly seeing a world out there with what is really a public health time-bomb waiting to go off. And the research we are doing suggests it is only going to get worse, generation on generation. So tomorrow’s generation really is on the edge of the precipice unless we can begin to do something about it.”

The film’s co-director Alex Wakeford says, “The World Health Organization has stated non- communicable disease has reached epidemic levels. Leading economists have predicted that, by the year 2030, the cost of treating this epidemic could bankrupt global healthcare systems. Governments are extremely concerned about the repercussions of antibiotic resistance and the effect this level of disease could have upon social and economic stability on a global scale. What is not even on their agenda, however, is the possible effect of mode of birth.”The film’s co-director Toni Harman adds, “Caesarean Sections are often essential and can be life-saving. A few leading individuals have been raising the alarm and building up a picture of potential long-term outcomes for some time. Over the last couple of years, more and more people have joined this debate and the weight of this emerging research is painting a very worrying picture in terms of future health across populations. The film raises awareness of the potential importance of “seeding” the microbiome for all babies, whether born naturally or by C-section. This is an issue not just for parents and health professionals, but also for all our world leaders. For surely now is the time for childbirth to be the focus of serious, urgent attention at the highest level?”

 More information

For more innformation and to become a member of the Birth Forward volunteer team; contact

Maria Theodorou on 99194123, info@birthforward.com, www.birthforward.com.

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