Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Before you start to panic about the cupcake you wolfed down last night with that ice cream chaser, no, pregnancy weight gain is not the cause of autism. But according to Science Daily, a study out of the University of Utah says there is a link between pregnancy pounds and babies that end up being on the autism spectrum. According to researchers, added weight or fat in the body can change various hormone levels or be a sign of inflammation, which can then in turn impact your baby’s fetal development. So the pregnancy weight gain can be a marker for autism, but not a cause of it.
Autism spectrum disorders—which affect 1 to 2 percent of the population, or one in 88 children in the U. S.—are neuro-developmental disabilities that can range from mild to more severe. Children with autism display social problems, communication difficulties, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior. The study looked at a group of 128 children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and compared them with a control group of 10,920 children of the same ages and genders. A second group of 288 children with autism were also studied against data of their unaffected siblings.
The study, which was published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that small increases in weight—in 5-pound increments—while pregnant were linked to “a slightly higher but significant risk for autism”. The crazy thing is there was an average difference of only about 3 pounds in weight gain when comparing mothers of children with and without autism.
The authors of the study fully admit more research needs to be done on the matter to help identify what actually causes autism (according to Desert News, next up they will take blood samples “during the pregnancy of autism-related cases. If biomarkers are found showing a higher risk of the condition, the study states that a window of clinical opportunity could emerge for this mechanism of injury to be prevented.” Prevention could range from educating moms-to-be about wellness programs to development of drugs to counteract the weight gain. Until more conclusions are made, researchers warn there is no need to freak out and change your diet just yet!
TELL US: Will you be watching your weight more closely because of this study?
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, September 16th, 2013
There seems to be so much contradictory news out there when it comes to inductions.How are you supposed to know what to do?
One recent study sings the praises of inducing a pregnancy (which is when a doctor gives you medicine like pitocin, or other drugs, to artificially start or speed up your contractions) as a major way to stave off the need for a C-section. Though this is contrary to a British study from two years ago that said the use of pitocin doesn’t lower the risk of a Cesarean section.Their findings stated that the use of pitocin sped up labor by about two hours, but that it did not lessen the need for a C-section or increase the number of unassisted births.
Meanwhile, an anxiety-inducing study was also recently published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, that says inducing a pregnancy can increase a child’s chance of having autism. Researchers say the method used to kick-start the labor process likely doesn’t cause the autism, but it comes from a larger underlying problem with the pregnancy. Studies have found that children are at higher risk for autism if they are born early or very small; if they are in medical distress during delivery; if they have older mothers or fathers; or if they are born less than a year after an older sibling. Autism risk also goes up if a mother has diabetes or high blood pressure; is obese; is exposed to significant air pollution during pregnancy; had low levels of folic acid; or makes antibodies toxic to the fetal brain.
There are plenty of medical reasons to induce, such as you’re one to two weeks past your due date; you have gestational diabetes and the doctor fears the baby may be getting too big; your placenta is no longer bringing nutrients to the baby properly, you have too little amniotic fluid, or your baby isn’t growing as it should; your water breaks but your labor doesn’t start on its own; you develop preeclampsia, which restricts the flow of blood to your baby; or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
You should note that the March of Dimes advocates that a baby is not fully developed until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy, so if you’re having a healthy pregnancy they suggest you wait for labor to begin on its own. Why? At 35 weeks, a baby’s brain weighs only two-thirds of what it will at 39 to 40 weeks, and babies born after 39 weeks have fewer health problems and have an easier time feeding and staying warm.
I’m especially interested in—okay, obsessed with— this topic because my OB induced me at 39 weeks. My water had broken at 4 am, and by 8 am, I was still just dilated one measly centimeter. I also had gestational diabetes, so she worried that I could end up having to have a c-section if all did not go well. Luckily, all did go well! In fact after getting the pitocin at around 9, I went to sleep around 10 and when I woke up at noon, I was fully dilated! The best part was meeting my ridiculously-cute son, Logan (pictured on the day we took him home from the hospital).
But now to hear that induction can be a sign that your baby may be on the autistic spectrum only makes me analyze his every move, wondering if what he’s doing is a sign of autism (I’m a first-time mom—we freak about about anything and everything!). As scary as the media makes autism out to be, though, having a child with autism is not the end of the world—far from it. I know a few parents who have children with autism, and they’ll be the first to tell you that there are incredible ups and very emotional downs with coming to terms with the diagnoses and the day-to-day challenges that affect the entire family. But life with kids with autism is still good—just different, and those differences deserve to be celebrated too.
TELL US: Which study do you believe? Were you induced? Are there any signs of your child having autism?
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Amniotic Fluid, Autism, Being Induced, birth, C-section, childbirth, delivery, due date, Gestational Diabetes, Inducing Pregnancy, Induction, Pitocin, pregnancy, pregnant | Categories: