Labor Induction and Autism Risk

Inducing labor did not appear tied to autism

(RxWiki News) There has been speculation as to whether induction of labor might play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders, but a new study may ease that fear.

Labor induction did not appear to be linked to the risk of autism spectrum disorders in the babies born as a result of the induction, this study found. 

Because environmental factors early in life are thought to influence the development of the baby's brain, labor induction has been of special interest to determine the link, if any, to the baby's risk of developing autism. 

This study looked at more than 1 ,362, 000 births in Sweden from 1992 to 2005 and autism diagnoses from 2001 through 2013.

Eleven percent of the deliveries were induced, and 22,077 (1.6 percent) of the babies in this study developed autism. The Harvard researchers behind this study compared babies born to a mother who was induced to their siblings who were born without induction. 

Labor induction may have been associated with the risk for autism at first before the authors adjusted for certain factors, such as comparing siblings born to the same mother. 

Autism spectrum disorders are developmental and neurological disorders that appear in early childhood. Those with autism may have trouble with social interaction and language development and may perform repetitive behaviors. 

These research findings were recently published in JAMA. This study was funded by grants from the Swedish Research Council and the National Institutes of Health's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The authors did not disclose any conflicts of interest. 

Review Date: 
July 25, 2016