The world of child psychiatry is abuzz with news of a recent study that may link induced labor to an increased risk of autism. Since doctors and scientists have been on a continuous quest to find the cause, the findings from this study may be beneficial.
The study was conducted by researchers at Duke University and the University of Michigan and published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The conclusion was reached after researchers reviewed birth records of 625,000 babies born in North Carolina over an eight year period that were later diagnosed with autism. The data showed that the percentage of mothers who had induced and/or augmented labor was higher for those with autistic children than for mothers whose labor was not induced. Mothers whose labor was both induced and augmented had a 23% greater risk of having an autistic child than mothers who had neither procedure.
Of course, correlation does not equal causation. Inducing and augmenting labor can have numerous health benefits for both the mother and the baby, often preventing infections or other health problems. And while the study was controlled to account for age and certain health conditions, researchers had no access to other factors like paternal age and medications taken during pregnancy. Until more research is done, autism remains somewhat of a mystery in the realm of child psychiatry.