By Sarah Johnson

PUBLISHED:16:00 EST, 8  August 2012| UPDATED:16:00 EST, 8 August 2012

Babies born naturally may have higher IQs  than those delivered by caesarean section, new research claims.

According to scientists, when women give  birth naturally there are higher levels of a special protein in babies’ brains  that helps boost intelligence levels as they develop.

Scientists at Yale University in the US say  the increased levels of the protein, called UCP2, in babies born naturally could  help foster their short and long term memories – key components of the human IQ – as they grow up.

They made the discovery after studying the  hippocampal region in the brains of mice born naturally and by  caesarean.

Mice born by C-section were found to have  lower levels of UCP2 and, as a result, suffered ‘impaired adult  behaviours’.

UCP2 has already been credited with helping  to improve the chances of newborns breastfeeding.

The findings come at a time when a deal of  controversy surrounds C-sections.

Critics have said that C-sections can  increase the risk of internal bleeding and can lead to problems to do with  fertility in the future.

They think that celebrity mothers, such as  Victoria Beckham and Zoe Ball, are to blame for more women opting for  them.

Around one quarter of babies in NHS  hospitals are delivered by caesarean, although the figure is thought to  be as  high as 60 per cent in private clinics.

Celebrity mothers such as Victoria Beckham (right) and  Zoe Ball (left) have been blamed for more women asking for  caesareans

Study author Dr Tamas Horvath, whose findings  are published in journal PLoS ONE said: ‘These results reveal a potentially  critical role of UCP2 in the proper development of brain circuits and related  behaviours.

‘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.’

She added: ‘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 behaviours related to hippocampal  functions.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2185597/Babies-born-naturally-higher-IQs-delivered-caesarean-section.html#ixzz23G9ReJ3f