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Spacing pregnancies closely could increase autism risk in kids

You may want to mind the time interval between one pregnancy and the next as a new study has suggested that spacing pregnancies in close succession may increase the risk of autism in kids.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 11, 2016 13:57 IST
ANI
Women, whose gap between pregnancies is less than two years, are more likely to give birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder, say scientists.
Women, whose gap between pregnancies is less than two years, are more likely to give birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder, say scientists. (Shutterstock)

You may want to mind the time interval between one pregnancy and the next as a new study has suggested that spacing pregnancies in close succession may increase the risk of autism in kids.

Women, whose gap between pregnancies is less than two years, are more likely to give birth to a child with autism spectrum disorder, the University of Valle scientists found. Comparatively, long intervals between pregnancies, more than five years, also raises the risk of autism, in particular Asperger disorder and pervasive development disorder. The findings suggest that waiting only two to five years between pregnancies is linked to a lessened risk of autism. The current study was a systematic review of more than 1.1 million pregnancies.

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Scientists, Colombia, discovered that short intervals between pregnancies are most closely linked to autistic disorder -- the most severe form of the conditions that comprise autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Autistic disorder is likely to co-occur with intellectual disability and a myriad of medical, behavioural and psychiatric complications.

The scientists also noted that short intervals are linked to an increased risk of developmental delay. The researchers wrote that the reasons for the association between a short interval between pregnancy and ASD are unknown, but they suggested that a possible explanation is that maternal folic acid depletes after a pregnancy.

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As per the research, women who become pregnant before folate restoration is complete have an increased risk of folate insufficiency at the time of conception and during pregnancy. As a consequence, there would be an early alteration in the fetal neurodevelopment that could lead to ASD in early childhood. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.