A new study (the biggest of its kind), just released by Duke University, reveals shocking new findings that inducing child birth may lead to autism in children. Although in its early stages, the study suggests that labor inducing drugs like Oxytocin and prostaglandins given to women to start or speed up the labor process, may increase the risk of autism.
Simon Gregory, the lead author and associate professor of medicine and medical genetics at Duke University, said recently, “We haven’t found a connection for cause and effect. One of the things we need to look at is why they were being induced in the first place.”
Recent government data reveals that women are having labor induced twice as often now as they were 20 years ago. Scientists and doctors need to take a good look at why this is happening. Has it become more of a convenience than a necessity?
The study done at Duke researched 625,042 births over an eight-year period in North Carolina. They then compared these births with school records from the late 1990s through 2008 and discovered that labor had been induced over 170,000 times.
The study revealed that overall, 5,648 children developed autism of some form, either mild to severe. 75% of the children were boys and nearly one-third of the mothers were given drugs to induce or hasten childbirth versus only 29% of the boys who did not develop autism. The results were much lower in the girls.
Of all the children studied, the biggest risk of autism was in boys whose mothers were in childbirth but had it hastened through drugs. They were 35% more likely to have autism than those who had a normal childbirth.
Among the girls, the findings showed that autism was not directly tied to induced labor; it appeared more common in girls who were born after labor was accelerated. The risk here was 18% higher chance of having autism than girls whose mother had no treatment.
Autism in the USA affects about 1 in 88 children. The exact causes are uncertain but experts believe it is a combination of genetics and other factors, including mothers’ illness and medications used during pregnancy, the age of the father during conception and other problems that affect the fetus during childbirth.
The study is based on the theory that autism occurs either during childbirth or shortly after but no conclusions could be made, as further investigation is required.
Written By: Brad Boyes