Cesarean section (CS) is recognized as being a shared environmental risk factor associated with chronic immune disease. A study of maternal gene expression changes between different delivery modes can add to our understanding of how CS contributes to disease patterns later in life. We evaluated the association of delivery mode with postpartum gene expression using a cross-sectional study of 324 mothers who delivered full-term (≥ 37 weeks) singletons. Of these, 181 mothers had a vaginal delivery and 143 had a CS delivery (60 with and 83 without labor). Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) were upregulated in vaginal delivery compared to CS with or without labor. Peptidase inhibitor 3 (PI3), a gene in the antimicrobial peptide pathway and known to be involved in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities, showed a twofold increase in vaginal delivery compared to CS with or without labor (adjusted p-value 1.57 × 10–11 and 3.70 × 10–13, respectively). This study evaluates differences in gene expression by delivery mode and provides evidence of antimicrobial peptide upregulation in vaginal delivery compared to CS with or without labor. Further exploration is needed to determine if AMP upregulation provides protection against CS-associated diseases later in life.