Induced Labor Could Be Linked to Autism
Study finds increased risk in kids who were induced
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2013 7:15 AM CDT
Updated Aug 13, 2013 8:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – A new study finds induced labor may be linked to an increased risk of autism, but doctors warn that more research is needed. The study of 625,000 children found that, overall, 13 out of every 1,000 boys and four out of every 1,000 girls developed autism. But, for boys, that rate was one-third higher when their mothers saw their labor induced or augmented, the BBC reports. (The effect was not as pronounced in female births.) LiveScience reports that such augmentations might include strengthening contractions with hormone treatments; it says the risk of autism was 13% higher when labor was induced, 16% higher when it was augmented, and 35% higher (in male births) when it was both induced and augmented.

The study did account for other factors (mother's age, diabetes, pre-term labor) that could have affected the autism rate, but researchers say there could be still other factors that underlie both the need for induced labor and the increased occurrence of autism. "We are not drawing a cause-and-effect relationship," says one. All in all, halting induced labor could prevent two cases of autism out of every 1,000 births, according to the study. But there would be a cost, as induced labor (which is often recommended when a pregnancy extends more than a week or two beyond the due date) and augmented labor (which is often used when a birth is progressing too slowly) can save lives of both moms and babies.

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Showing 3 of 15 comments
Aug 13, 2013 4:38 PM CDT
Inducing labor seems like it was invented so the Dr could make his T time
Aug 13, 2013 2:53 PM CDT
And prolonged labor is associated with cerebral palsy and other birth trauma.; so what do you want news readers do? Oh, not have kids. Sorry, super idea. A potential blessing to all other species.
Aug 13, 2013 2:07 PM CDT
Whether or not it contributes to autism, inducing labor with Pitocin is dangerous, extremely painful and usually quite unnecessary. I guess if you WANT the fetus to jam its head over and over against a cervix that has not opened and softened... Pitocin causes unnatural, extreme contractions in an organism that has not properly prepared itself for labor. And for what? Because the fetus is late? How do we know for sure that the fetus has grown all of its organs to the point that it is ready for birth? Mammals like to give birth in safe, familiar, quiet and dark conditions. None of those things describe a hospital, and it is no wonder that women seize up when taken there. And just to make sure you freak her body out, put a bunch of needles, tubes and wires in her body, so that she cannot move freely. My best friend gave birth a month late. Finally, she took some Castor Oil (the first time she took it she was 5 days late and it did not work) to grease up the works, and had her baby so fast I had to deliver it---the midwife didn't get there on time. The kid was a grinning, happy baby that was cooked just right---obviously he had stayed an extra month for a reason.