A new eight year study that looked at more than 625,000 births in North Carolina concluded that male children whose mothers had induced labor had a 35 percent higher chance of being diagnosed as autistic. The numbers also noted that the incidence was much lower for girls but still higher than for children born without induction or augmented labor. Of course, the question is specifically why is this happening.
It appears that children in this study who had more fetal distress were more likely to be diagnosed as autistic. Thus, when fetal distress is reported, most doctors choose to induce labor or augment the process in order to save both mother and child. However, it now appears that while medically necessary, it carries more risks than were previously known. Researchers also noted that genetic and environmental factors are part of the equation, but those areas are still being nailed down.
Considering the large number of people and the length of time of the study, these numbers are obviously significant. What the final result is, if changes in procedure are warranted or if new techniques need to be developed, remains in the hands of medical professionals.
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Image courtesy of www.faces-autismsupport.org.