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Children exposed to birth complications at higher autism risk, study finds

A study found that children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 01, 2017 16:01 IST
ANI
ANI
Washington DC
risk of autism

A study found that children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder.(Shutterstock)

There is a bad news for children who were exposed to t complications shortlys before or during birth.

A study by Kaiser Permanente found that children who were exposed to complications shortly before or during birth, including birth asphyxia and preeclampsia, were more likely to develop autism spectrum disorder.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Perinatology, stated that the perinatal complications that had the highest association with ASD were birth asphyxia -- deprivation of oxygen during the birthing process -- and preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to other organ systems. Other perinatal complications that were associated with ASD included premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, breech/transverse fetal presentation, fetal dystocia/abnormal size or position, and a prolapsed/exposed umbilical cord.

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Researchers examined the health records of 594,638 children born in Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Southern California between 1991 and 2009. During this time, 6,255 of these children were diagnosed with ASD, 37% of whom experienced perinatal complications. Researchers found that children exposed to complications during birth were at a 10% increased risk of developing ASD, compared to children who did not experience perinatal complications.

That number rose to a 22% increased risk of developing ASD for children exposed to complications before labor began. The study also showed that children exposed to complications both before and during birth had a 44% greater risk of developing ASD than children who did not experience perinatal complications.

Autism spectrum disorders are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by impaired social interaction, communication deficits and a range of restricted and repetitive behavior patterns, according to the American Psychiatric Association. According to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 68 children have been identified with ASD, and the disorder is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. ASD is about 4.5 times more common among boys than girls.