CNN just reported a study that found that inducing/speeding up labor in women may be tied to autism. Researchers report that male infants seem to be most vulnerable. But remember: correlation doesn’t mean causation! A lot has to be taken into account for this, such as the parent’s age, medications taken, weeks pregnant, and such. There is more research needed but definitely something to read more about.

Here are the key points from the study:

  • The study looked at more than 625,000 records of children’s birth and education from North Carolina (including demographics of both parents, the mother’s medical history age at pregnancy, and infant health).
  • Results: Male infants born in deliveries in which labor was both induced and augmented were 35% more likely to have autism than those whose mother did not have either of these treatments. For induction alone, risk was elevated 18%. For augmentation alone, risk went up 15%. Also, some results coincided with previous findings- older maternal age raised the risk 30%, being first born increased risk 21%, and having a mother with gestational diabetes upped the risk by 24%.
  • They did not find any increased risk for children born in Cesarean sections compared to vaginal births.
  • This data does not demonstrate that induced or augmented labor causes autism. It only shows an association; scientists do not yet know what explains the connection. But researchers say the underlying mechanism is worth looking into, given that expedited labor isn’t rare. About 23% of births in the United States in 2008 were induced, and 17% were augmented in 2002, Gregory said.

If you would like to read CNN’s report, please click on the link: