Greater Weight Gain During Pregnancy Leads to Autism Risk

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Autism is no longer considered a rare disorder. With about one in 88 children now being diagnosed, the quest to find the cause continues. According to the results of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, women who gain more weight than average during pregnancy tend to have a higher risk of having an autistic child.

But researchers stress that it is not the weight gain itself that causes the autism, nor does a woman’s weight before she gets pregnant have anything to do with the cause. Instead, the team of researchers believes that a slightly higher increase in weight during pregnancy is simply an indication that a more complex process—possibly involving hormone and inflammation problems—is occurring. Women are not encouraged to make any dietary changes based on these findings.

If nothing else, this study will help give doctors notice that they need to test for autism early and contact an autism specialist if necessary. While there is no cure, autistic children who are diagnosed early have a better chance at living normal lives with proper structure and autism treatment.