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Study reveals link between induced labour and autism

anaesthetist was drunk pregnancy

US researchers have found links between autism and induced births. 625,000 children participated in the 8 year study, which was published by JAMA Pediatrics. The study found that the link was stronger in boys than in girls.

Further investigations

Scientists are now calling for further investigation into the results as they can’t be clear why there would be a link. Doctors have always said that inducing labour is safe and can often save a baby’s life. This new study could turn this view on its head and further research will have to be done to prevent expectant mothers shunning the procedure, when it could be a necessity during their labour.

Pregnant Woman in labour

The medical profession has always said that a number of factors can lead to a child having autism. Genetics, family risk and conditions within the womb can affect a developing baby and scientists have stressed that it’s not clear whether induction is responsible for the higher rate in autism, or whether autistic babies don’t send the correct signals for a timely birth.

The North Carolina based study revealed 13 out of every 1000 boys born, and 4 out of every 1000 girls, developed autism following an induced birth.

Pros and cons for inducing pregnant women

Researchers have also estimated that of every 1000 births, 2 cases of autism might be prevented if mothers had had a natural birth. There are pros and cons for induction, in some cases it is essential that a mother is induced for hers and her baby’s safety but you can be sure this new information will have an impact on the decision making by mothers to opt for an induction.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Michael Heard said: “We induce to improve outcomes. You reduce the chance of losing the baby and the chance of mum and baby getting unwell. This is a preliminary statistical overview, with no clear reasoning why the two things should be linked.

Induction is very common and is offered for good medical reasons and is extremely safe. But like most medical processes there is a small risk associated. This is another thing to consider in a long-term study, but not something I’d consider in my practice.”




About Dani Lee

About Dani Lee

Dani enjoys turning her hand to writing when she gets a chance. Dani works full time and has 2 children, Sophie, 7 and Harry, 15 months and if anyone knows what it is to be a working parent, she does!

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