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Does induction of labor cause autism?

 

No study has shown that induction or augmentation of labor causes autism.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disorders that includes autistic disorder, sometimes called autism , Asperger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and childhood disintegrative disorder. People with autism have a poor ability to interact with other people socially and lack an interest in peer relationships. People with autism may show little or no eye contact , delayed speech, repetitive use of phrases or mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects), and an intolerance to changes in their routine,

Twin and family studies strongly suggest that some families have a genetic predisposition to autism. Areas of chromosome 15 and chromosome 7 appear to be involved in some individuals. Maternal metabolic conditions , increased parental age , prenatal exposure to valproate, and air pollution have also been associated with an increased risk for autism.

One study by Gregory SG and coworkers that received much attention when it was published suggested that “induction/augmentation during childbirth is associated with increased odds of autism diagnosis in childhood.”  Some critics pointed out that the results of Gregory and coworkers study may have been due to an over diagnosis of autism in the earlier years of the study. In addition , The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine has pointed out that the type of study Gregory and coworkers conducted cannot prove causation. There appears to be no disagreement from the authors of the study on the latter point. They have stated  “ We did not examine or implicate oxytocin, nor did we conclude that labor induction/ augmentation or oxytocin causes autism.”


REFERENCES

1. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm
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JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 Jan;70(1):71-7. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.266. PMID: 23404082
11. Gregory SG, et. al., Association of autism with induced or augmented childbirth in North Carolina Birth Record (1990-1998) and Education Research (1997-2007) databases.
JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Oct;167(10):959-66. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2904.PMID: 23938610
12. Vintzileos AM, Ananth CV. Does augmentation or induction of labor with oxytocin increase the risk for autism? Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Dec;209(6):502-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2013.09.003. Epub 2013 Sep 23. No abstract available.PMID: 24071440
13. A statement MFM Statement Labor Induction or Augmentation and Autism Spectrum Disorders
https://www.smfm.org/attachedfiles/LaborInductionandAutismFinal.pdf
14. Gardener H, et. al.' Perinatal and neonatal risk factors for autism: a comprehensive meta-analysis.
Pediatrics. 2011 Aug;128(2):344-55. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1036. Epub 2011 Jul 11. Review.PMID: 21746727
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18. Shea KM, et. al. Postterm delivery: a challenge for epidemiologic research. Epidemiology. 1998 Mar;9(2):199-204. Review.PMID: 9504291

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