While a Caesarean delivery reduces the risk of urinary incontinence and a dangerous weakening of the pelvic muscles, it also increases the risk for a second pregnancy. There is a 17 per cent increased probability of miscarriage and a 27 per cent increased probability of stillbirth in a pregnancy after a C-section. The researchers also found nearly triple the probability for placenta accreta, in which the placenta grows too deeply into the uterine wall.

Caesarean babies have a 21 per cent increased probability of asthma by age 12 and a nearly 60 per cent increased likelihood of obesity up to the age of five. The analysis, published in PLOS Medicine, pooled data from 80 studies with 30 million subjects. Still, the absolute risks are small. “With placenta accreta, for example, the risk is 1 in 3,000, and it goes up to 3 in 3,000 with Caesarean,” said senior author Sarah J. Stock, University of Edinburgh.

Stand up to stay slim

If you stood at your desk and worked instead of sitting at it all day, you would burn an extra 50 calories, a recent study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found. When people stand, more muscles are tensed and stretched to fight gravity and bear weight. Men burn almost double the calories women burn because of their higher muscle mass. Researchers said many office workers could lose significant weight if they spent regular periods standing at their desks.

Senior author Dr Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, chairman of preventive cardiology at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in the US, says that standing not only burns more calories, the additional muscle activity is also linked to lower rates of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. Therefore, the benefits of standing could go beyond weight control.

Is obesity contagious?

Your neighbours can influence your waistline, a study in JAMA Pediatricshas found. It studied military families across the US and found that there was a higher rate of obesity in families posted in areas that have a high obesity rate. No data was, however, released on what happened once they were transferred to a lower obesity area. US military personnel are transferred frequently, so they are perfect to study the influence of a changeable environment. The researchers controlled for age, sex, race, education, income and “built environment” – easily accessible exercise opportunities and good supermarkets.