According to Autism Speaks, there isn’t a single cause for autism. Instead, experts believe that genetic and environmental factors might be to blame.
Beyond that, however, it turns out that induced labor might be linked with this condition as well, and since so many women go through induced labor, it’s important to take a look at what the research has to say. Keep reading to learn more about this important topic.
First Off, What Is Induced Labor?
When a doctor induces labor, contractors are stimulated before a woman’s labor has actually begun. This can be achieved in a few different ways. For example, hormones might be prescribed, or medications might be used to stimulate the contractions to occur. Other methods of inducing labor include mechanical dilation and what is known as stripping the membranes.
The thing about induction is that it’s very common, as one out of every four women in the United States will begin her labor this way. Why is it so common, though? Well, some of the main reasons include the following:
- If a woman’s water broke, but her labor didn’t start
- If a test has indicated that there is a problem with the baby
- If the mother has been diagnosed with a medical condition that puts her or her baby at risk
- If a woman is anywhere from a week to two weeks past her due date, and at an increased risk of suffering from complications as a result
It is best to be induced only if there is a serious medical need to do so. Electing to be induced does occur, but it is not always recommended because it is not necessary and, according to some new research, there might even be a link between autism and induction.
An Interesting New Study Links Induced Labor with Autism
Researchers in the United States released the results of a study that has identified a potential risk factor for children who are born of mothers whose labor was induced.
These scientists have found that there could be a connection between that procedure and the development of autism among the children who are born as a result of the induced labor.
The induced labor autism study involved the analysis of data regarding 625,000 children. It suggested that the instance of this condition is greater among boys – at a rate of 13 cases of the condition for every 1,000 males who were born – than it was among girls – in which the rate of the development of the condition was 4 for every 1,000 females who were born.
When the mothers are given drugs in order to begin labor, says the new study, the rate of development of autism among boys is one third greater than it is among the boys whose mothers went into labor naturally.
It Isn’t a Definite Link, Though
At the same time, Professor Simon Gregory from Duke University cautioned mothers not to act too soon based on this information. He stated that it would be wrong for mothers to take this data and decide that under no circumstance do they wish to be induced because there could be an increased risk that their child will one day develop the condition. He expressed that “that would be plain wrong.”
After all, sometimes, induced labor is necessary to salvage the health of the mother and her baby. If there is a serious medical reason for inducing labor, a woman should not prevent her doctor from doing so.
Avoiding induced labor when there is a medical issue that needs to be dealt with might very well make the situation far worse for the mother and child, particularly when compared to the potential link between labor induction and autism. In other words, it’s about the risks versus the benefits, and this is something that should be seriously discussed with your doctor if you are at all concerned about the possibility of having to induce labor.
Also, all that this association should indicate, for the time being, is that there is further study required, and that the potential connection between an autism risk and inducing labor is an area that should likely be further examined.
It provides scientists with a new factor upon which to direct their attention. It also points out that there may be other factors that surround the birth of the child that could play a role in the development of the condition, not necessarily only inducing labor.
More Research Is Still Being Conducted
When it comes to autism, every new discovery helps in the identification of another piece in a very large and complex puzzle. There is no single environmental or hereditary factor at play, so it is important for medicine to continue to spot the many different contributors to the risk of the various parts of the spectrum. This will help to promote better preventative methods and could also assist in the creation of treatments, or perhaps even a cure one day down the road.