Drishya Nair
First Posted: Aug 10, 2012 06:22 AM EDT

Photo: Flickr/kenty2007

More and more women are opting for cesarean births, either because they do not want to go through the labor pain or simply because they want their babies to be born on a day and time  convenient for them.

However, new studies say that as convenient as it sounds, it might not be the best way to welcome your baby.

According to a research, babies born by C-section might not be as intelligent as those born naturally. The study has found higher IQ levels in babies born naturally.

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The scientists at Tale University, U.S., claim that in babies born naturally, there is a higher level of special protein found that helps boost intelligence levels as they develop.

Researchers say that higher levels of the protein, called UCP2, help babies with fostering their short and long term memories which are the key components of the human IQ - as they grow up.

The discovery was made when scientists conducted a study on new born mice and studied their hippocampal region in the brain. Both, naturally born and cesarean born were studied for the experiment.

The findings revealed that mice born via C-section had lower levels of UCP2 and thus showed impairment in "adult behaviors."

UCP2 is also known to help improve the chances of newborns breastfeeding.

"These results reveal a potentially critical role of UCP2 in the proper development of brain circuits and related behaviors. The increasing prevalence of C-sections driven by convenience rather than medical necessity may have a previously unsuspected lasting effect on brain development and function in humans as well," study author Dr Tamas Horvath, was quoted as saying by Mail Online.

"We found that natural birth triggered UCP2 expression in the neurons located in the hippocampal region of the brain. This was diminished in the brains of mice born via C-section. Knocking out the UCP2 gene or chemically inhibiting UCP2 function interfered with the differentiation of hippocampal neurons and circuits, and impaired adult behaviors related to hippocampal functions," she added.

The findings were published in journal PLoS ONE.