Induced Labor Linked to Increase Risk of Autism
The last weeks of pregnancy seem the longest. I started to feel like God was playing a joke on me and I’d be pregnant for the rest of my life.
Today, more moms are being induced a little early for non-medical reasons to shorten those last days, but a new study suggests that may lead to problems. In fact, this new research suggests that having labor induced or augmented may increase the risk of your child having autism.
Current U.S. government statics estimate one in 50 school-age children have autism spectrum disorder. This includes conditions that lead to some level of impairment in communication, behavioral issues, and social skills.
The study conducted by researchers at Duke University and the University of Michigan was published on August 12, 2013, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The study doesn’t say it “proves” that induction or augmented labor causes autism, but it does suggest a link related to delivery procedures and autism diagnosis in childhood.
I have more than one friend who has a child with autism. After I read about the study, I thought of asking them if they were induced. Then I thought better of it. This is only one study, and the researchers admit “further investigation is needed to differentiate among potential explanations.”
Moms often feel a sense of guilt like they could have done something differently to prevent a problem. At least that’s how I felt when my son was diagnosed with learning disabilities.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 23.1% of all births in 2008 were induced. For those expecting now, I would say if you’re thinking of jump-starting your labor for non-medical reasons â€“ talk to your doctor about this risk. The researchers involved in this study estimate that two out of every 1,000 autism cases in boys could possibly be prevented by not inducing or augmenting labor.
Photo credits: Lance Neilson