News / Health

Study Links Induced Labor and Autism Risk

Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was  diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
x
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was  diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
Christopher Astacio reads with his daughter Cristina, 2, who was diagnosed with a mild form of autism. A new study links induced labor with increased risk of autism.
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
Women who undergo induced or augmented labor during childbirth may increase the risk their baby will be autistic, according to a new study. The risk may even be higher if the baby is a male.

“Inducing or augmenting labor has been previously suggested as a contributing factor to autism development,” said the study’s lead author, Simon G. Gregory, associate professor of medicine and medical genetics at Duke University. “However, these studies produced conflicting results and consisted of a relatively small number of subjects. Our study is by far the largest one of its kind to look at the association between autism and induction or augmentation.”

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Duke University, looked at records of all births in North Carolina over an eight-year period and matched 625,042 births with corresponding public school records, which indicated whether children were diagnosed with autism.

Approximately 1.3 percent of male children and 0.4 percent of female children had autism diagnoses. In both male and female children, the percentage of mothers who had induced or augmented labor was higher among children with autism compared with those who did not have autism.

Autism is a developmental disability that can cause social, communication and behavioral difficulties. It affects approximately one in 88 children in the United States.

Gregory said the increased risk associated with induced labor is similar to other known autism risk factors, including a mother being older or a baby being born before 34 weeks of gestation. Additional analysis suggests that not inducing labor might eliminate two in every 1,000 autism cases among male children born to mothers who underwent induced labor.

The latest government data suggest one in five U.S. women have labor induced — twice as many as in 1990. Induced labor — stimulating contractions before the onset of spontaneous labor -- has been shown to prevent complications, including stillbirth.

“The findings of this study must be balanced with the fact that there are clear benefits associated with induction and augmentation of labor,” said study co-author Chad A. Grotegut, assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology at Duke University Medicine. “Labor induction, especially for women with post-date pregnancies or medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, has remarkably decreased the chance of stillbirth.”

Researchers caution that the study “does not prove cause and effect,” but that the results call for more study of the relationship between induced labor and autism.

For example, the researchers noted that some information that could have benefitted their analyses was not available, including detailed data on the children’s autism diagnoses. No information was available on the severity of autism, nor were records available for children diagnosed with autism who did not attend a public school.

The researchers also did not have access to the full maternal or child medical records, which would provide more detailed information on the pregnancy and events of labor and delivery.

“The scientific community has long looked for environmental contributors to the rising rates of autism in the United States,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, senior author of the paper and a professor in both Environmental Informatics and Pediatrics at the University of Michigan. “This study provides preliminary evidence of an association between autism and labor induction/augmentation, especially among male children.”

The findings were published this week in JAMA Pediatrics.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid