It has been long thought that autism is triggered by a trauma that may occur before or after birth, so a group of researchers wanted to learn whether induced labor may represent a risk for the developmental disorder.
The research team was all the more enticed to conduct a research on the issue as a 2013 study had shown that there is an association between the delivery method and high risk of autism in children. That study based its findings on medical data gathered from 600,000 children.
The 2013 findings had suggested that speeding up natural delivery processes thorough induced labor raised the risk by 0.2 percent. Nevertheless, that study was met with skepticism.
According to the CDC, nearly 25 percent of live births were the result of induced labor in 2013. So, the matter is of major concern for U.S. doctors and parents.
The latest study found that induced labor is not associated in any way with a higher risk of developing autism. Study authors analyzed data on all babies born in their home country, Sweden, between 1992 and 2015.
About 1.36 million children were involved in the research. Of them, about 22,077 developed the disorder and received a diagnosis until the age of 21.
According to the new findings, 3.5 percent of study participants who had been delivered through induced labor developed the condition. By contrast, 2.5 percent of those in the non-induced labor group developed the disorder.
Since autism is believed to also have a genetic cause, the study results were adjusted for outcomes of siblings. After doing so, researchers noted that the link between autism risk and the controversial delivery method was no longer statistically significant.
Study authors also found that most induced labors occurred when mothers were at risk of complications such as older mothers or those with weight problems.
Scientists who think that induced labor is a risk factor for the condition base their assumptions on the risks of oxytocin, a substance administered to mothers to hurry up contractions. Oxytocin also impacts those parts of the brain responsible for social interaction and cognition.
So, some experts believe that early exposure to the neurotransmitter may up the risk of autism in the newborn. Other experts believe that autism risk may be in fact upped by Cesarean section since induced labors often require the procedure.
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