A new study has found inducing labor and increasing the strength or frequency of contractions may raise the chances of autism, especially in boys. An increased risk of 35 percent was found for males who were induced and augmented. About 20 percent of births in the United States are induced, and 70 percent are augmented. Autism affects approximately one in 88 children in the U.S. Doctor’s don’t know exactly what causes autism, but scientists suspect genetics and environment play a role. This study is an example of another environmental factor that may be influencing the risk for autism.
Researchers caution the study does not show these measures actually cause autism, and more study is needed. Doctors say the best advice for women is to learn about typical childhood development, so mothers can spot early warning signs of autism.