Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Inducing and Augmenting Labor May Be Associated with Increased Risk of Autism
Pregnant women whose labors are induced or augmented may have an increased risk of bearing children with autism, especially if the baby is male, according to a large, retrospective analysis by researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Michigan.
The findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics on Aug. 12, 2013, do not prove cause and effect, but suggest the need for more research, particularly as labor induction and augmentation have been used more frequently in recent years.
Expediting deliveries has benefitted women with health conditions that pose a risk to them and their unborn children. Inducing labor (stimulating contractions before the onset of spontaneous labor) and augmenting labor (increasing the strength, duration or frequency of contractions during labor) have been shown to prevent complications, including stillbirth.