How To Reduce The Risk Of Autism
A higher risk of having a child on the autism spectrum is associated with several pregnancy-related issues. Some of these, such as the use of certain pharmaceuticals during pregnancy, can be managed to reduce the risk. Others, however, are difficult, if not impossible, to change.
Its important to remember that an association is not the same thing as a cause. For example, it’s a fact that preterm babies are more likely to have autism than full-term babies, but it’s not known exactly why. The reasons may actually relate more to genetics or to socioeconomic factors than to the behaviors of the birth parent.
This article will discuss the pregnancy-related risk factors for autism, with a look at which factors are supported by the most evidence, which have weaker associations, and what you can do to reduce the risk.
Key Findings: Opioids Prescribed Just Before Pregnancy Associated With Autism
A study from the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , found that mothers who were prescribed opioids just before becoming pregnant were more likely to have a child with autism spectrum disorder or a child with other developmental disabilities and some autism symptoms. This study is among the first to look at associations between prescription of opioids in pregnancy and ASD and other DDs. More research is needed to better understand developmental outcomes among children whose mothers used opioids before and during pregnancy.
Read the scientific summaryexternal icon of the article.
Hypersensitivity To Stress: An Important Vulnerability To Ad
The effect of prenatal stress on postnatal HPA-axis reactivity and sensitivity to stress is especially interesting, for two reasons. First, several studies have reported that hypersensitivity to stress is associated with AD. For example, found that AD children were more likely than control children to show HPA-axis hyperactivity in response to novel stimuli. This study examined changes in salivary cortisol and found that AD children showed elevations in cortisol following exposure to a novel non-social situation, whereas control children did not . found a tendency in children with high-functioning autism toward cortisol hypersecretion during the daytime hours. This effect was principally found in those children who were integrated into the normal school system, which the authors suggested indicates that the elevated cortisol secretion was a response to environmental stress.
Second, based on clinical work with AD children, has hypothesized that hypersensitivity in infants may be a crucial predisposing factor that causally contributes to the development of AD. Zelazo has proposed a developmental model of AD in which low stress tolerance in a young child leads to abnormal patterns of social avoidance and behavioral noncompliance, patterns which in turn disrupt child-caretaker interactions that are necessary for acquisition of social and language skills.
Read Also: How To Explain Body Parts To A Child
Does Stress During Pregnancy Really Cause Autism
For some of us, stress is not an occasional condition, but a way of life. When friends tell us to just relax, they might as well be telling us to be taller or shorter or somebody else. And when we become pregnant? Nothing changes. We are fiercely anxious: fat, under-slept, and cranky, awaiting every blood test and ultrasound with the avidity of lionesses, and dissecting the results with the stamina of coding geeks. When friends tell us to just relax, we lash out. My first-world stress is not going to hurt my baby, we insist. At this particular moment, when I cannot drink, smoke, have coffee, eat sushi, soft cheeses, or deli meats, when my life is about to change forever, let me at least have my stress, a relic of my former self.
How irritating, then, when science seems to agree with those friends: High levels of stress can hurt your baby. Maternal stress has long been known to be associated with pre-term delivery and low birth weight, and can lead to psychological problems in children later in life . Anda study published in March in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes what has long been suspected: Autism, too, has its roots in abnormal brain development in utero abnormal development that could possibly be caused by stress.
Autism Linked To Complications During Pregnancy And Birth
Many birth injuries are caused by medical negligence. Talk to an attorney today.
The cause of autism has been a hot topic over the past several years. Theories abound, especially on the Internet. Unfortunately, many theories lack scientific basis. But, a study recently published in the American Journal of Perinatology suggests that complications during pregnancy and birth may play a role in causing autism.
The article, Association of Perinatal Risk Factors with Autism Spectrum Disorder discusses a study involving the analysis of birth records of children born at Kaiser Permanente facilities during an 18 year period, from 1991 through 2009. Of that study group, approximately 6,000 children were ultimately diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
After looking deeper into the birth records of those 6,000 children, researchers discovered that nearly 40 percent of these children suffered complications either shortly before or during birth. The complications researchers found to be most closely related to autism included birth asphyxia and preeclampsia.
Birth asphyxia occurs when a baby is deprived of oxygen during the birthing process which can cause damage to the babys brain.
Preeclampsia is potentially dangerous condition in which the mother develops high blood pressure during pregnancy.
You May Like: Ritvo Autism Asperger Diagnostic Scale
Programming Of The Fetal Hpa Axis
Maternal stress stimulates release of GCs that can pass across the placenta and affect the developing fetus if GC levels are high enough to overcome the action of fetal enzymes that protect against GCs. The HPA axis is particularly sensitive to effects of prenatal exposure to excess levels of GCs . Prenatal exposure to environmental stress or GCs can lead to postnatal HPA hyperactivity in response to stress .
Examples Of Developmental Disabilities
You should know that a developmental delay is not the same thing as a developmental disability. A developmental delay is something that children can work through and grow out of. Developmental disabilities, however, are permanent disorders. A developmental disability is a diagnosable condition, such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder or cerebral palsy. A developmental screening can help you learn more. In either case, early intervention is important to give your child the best chances of success.
Recommended Reading: What Colors Represent Autism
Birth Complications Linked To Autism
Study: Factors Related to Oxygen Deprivation, Fetal Growth May Be Associated With Autism
July 11, 2011 — Several problems that crop up during labor and shortly after birth appear to increase a childâs risk for developing autism, a new study shows.
The study comes on the heels of new evidence suggesting that environmental and developmental exposures may play a greater role in the development of autism than previously believed. For decades, doctors thought genes accounted for as much as 90% of all autism risk.
The study, a review of 40 studies published before April 2007, looked at a host of circumstances that may affect babies during labor and delivery. It found 16 circumstances that appear to be tied to a significantly increased risk that a child would develop autism later in life.
Researchers note that many of these complications tend to occur together in difficult or high-risk deliveries, making it difficult to finger a single suspect.
But broadly, researchers note, they seem to be related to oxygen deprivation and growth retardation.
âReduced oxygen supply, during labor, during delivery, during the prenatal period, during early infancy, could influence autism risk,â says study researcher Hannah Gardener, ScD, an epidemiologist at the University of Miamiâs Miller School of Medicine. âWe canât say that definitely from our study, but that certainly is one possibility.â
Examples Of Developmental Delays
As you continue to monitor your childs development, be mindful of the following five areas where developmental delays are most common:
These are your childs thinking skills. How they think, learn, and learn to solve problems. Every child is different in terms of their level of attention and awareness. However, by a certain age, your child should be capable of understanding their environment and objects in it. Talk to your childs doctor if your child shows signs of a cognitive developmental delay. Some red flags are if your child does not use gestures, does not point to objects or pictures, does not know the function of everyday items, and does not follow instructions when given.
These are skills that your child develops for socialization, getting along with others, and expressing needs. Social or emotional delays are usually apparent before your child reaches school age. Some of the red flags that may indicate a delay include not smiling, not responding with others, lack of facial expressions, lack of interest in games or play, lack of interest in engaging with others and difficulty being comforted.
Daily Living Activities
Also Check: Lifespan Of Someone With Autism
Prenatal Perinatal And Postnatal Factors Associated With Autism Spectrum Disorder Cases In Xuzhou China
Zenghua Yong1#, Yunlong Dou1#, Yuchen Gao1, Xuena Xu1, Yanli Xiao1, Hongjuan Zhu1, Shengli Li2, Baoqiang Yuan1
1Childrens Neurological Rehabilitation Center, The Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University , The Affiliated Hospital of Xuzhou Medical University , , China
Contributions: Conception and design: Z Yong, Y Dou, B Yuan Administrative support: B Yuan Provision of study materials or patients: All authors Collection and assembly of data: X Xu, Y Xiao Data analysis and interpretation: Y Xiao, H Zhu, S Li Manuscript writing: All authors Final approval of manuscript: All authors.
#These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: The aim of the present study was to explore the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal risk factors in children with autism spectrum disorder from Xuzhou, China by comparing them with healthy children.
Methods: Children with ASD who received rehabilitation training at special education schools and rehabilitation institutions in Xuzhou were selected as the ASD group, and healthy children during the same period were selected as the healthy non-ASD group. A questionnaire based on the possible causes and susceptibility factors of ASD in children was issued and given to all children in this study.
This survey confirmed the high prevalence of prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors in children with ASD. Some of these factors may be effective entry points for the prevention and treatment of ASD.
Researchers Agree The Mmr Vaccine Doesnt Cause Autism But The Evidence Is Weak For Other Triggers After Birth
Overall, the evidence for these prenatal exposures is stronger than the evidence for the range of postnatal causes that may trigger autism, said Amaral.
As he wrote in a recent review on the potential causes of autism, Since autism is a neurological disorder that undoubtedly reflects altered brain function, it is possible that the insult to the brain occurs after birth. But, he added: There is currently very little evidence for this.
Other popular potential postnatal causes, like profound social isolation among children, have also been disputed.
Even though were still in this gray area of trying to find more certain specific causes of autism, virtually all the causes happen prenatally, Amaral said. If you have autism, youre probably born with it.
Also Check: Is Nonny Autistic
Study: Birth Injuries Cause Developmental Delays
According to in-depth research and ongoing studies by a series of medical researchers and doctors, birth injuries are the most common cause of developmental delays. Birth injuries can manifest in different ways, each causing different parts of the brain to not function properly.
Per Viola M. Frymann D.O., F.A.A.O., F.C.A., at least 80% of all children who live with attention deficit disorder , attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder or autism experienced some sort of birth injury. The most common injuries occurred during the labor and delivery period, a time in which the nervous system can be severely damaged. Injuries during this period often lead to cognitive and psychological problems.
During labor and delivery, the babys body particularly the brain and spinal cord are flexible enough to withstand the natural compression from uterine contractions. If too much force is applied, labor is prolonged or there are complications during this period, the baby can suffer injuries. These injuries can affect your childs development in different ways.
Can We Prevent Autism
Women who choose to immunize against rubella before pregnancy are able to prevent the autism form associated with rubella. After birth, there are a few measures which might prove helpful when wanting to prevent autism. One would be an early diagnosis as well as treatment of PKU, which it`s a hereditary disease caused by the absence of an enzyme from the liver that is necessary for the digestion of the enzyme phenylalanine. Also, an early diagnosis as well as treatment of celiac disease might reduce the risk of autism.
You May Like: What Does Mild Autism Look Like
Multivariate Logistic Regression Analysis Of Female Asd Children
Similar to the analysis of the risk factors of male autistic children, 6 factors of statistical significance of the variance analysis of the single factor of the female group were put into the logistic regression equation, and the total variable regression method was adopted. The results showed that feeding difficulties and living in the countryside during pregnancy were risk factors for ASD for female children .
Do You Want To Know If Your Childs Diagnosis Of Autism Was The Result Of Medical Malpractice During Labor Contact A Medical Malpractice Lawyer
$445,00 recovery for autism Brain damage to a child during labor and delivery The Fitzgerald Law Firm argued that failure to diagnose and treat high bilirubin levels caused autism For a free consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer at The Fitzgerald Law Firm, please call toll free at 1-800-323-9900 or submit the firms online contact form. Contact us about the cause of your childs autism and if it could be associated with labor and delivery.
For over 30 years, the law firm of The Fitzgerald Law Firm has been committed to fighting for children with birth injuries, including autism. Injury to the immature brain during labor and delivery can result in a diagnosis of autism. If you retain The Fitzgerald Law Firm to represent your child, we will attempt to identify the cause of the injury to your childs brain that resulted in the diagnosis of autism. If the birth injury during labor was due to failure to diagnose, failure to treat, misdiagnosis or other birth malpractice, we will seek to recover compensation from those responsible.
Implications For Treatment And Early Intervention
Abnormally low stress tolerance in a developing child may also play a key role in AD by inhibiting the normal postnatal development of expressive language and self-regulation. As noted earlier, has proposed a developmental model of AD in which the core congenital problem in most children who develop AD involves an unusually low stress tolerance, which leads to abnormal patterns of avoidance, withdrawal, and behavioral noncompliance such as temper tantrums. These patterns of behavior, in turn, interfere with the childs normative interactions with his or her caretakers and caretaking environment that are crucial for the development of expressive language skills. The disruptive behaviors result in stronger reinforcement of avoidance, and further prevent the child from experiencing and learning to tolerate stress. Thus, abnormally low levels of stress tolerance, which is also observed in these childrens high sensitivity to various novel stimuli, may interfere with childrens interactions with the environment in a negatively cascading way that results in deficits associated with AD, such as impairments in development of expressive language ability as well as impaired ability for self-regulation.
Implications For Wise Use Of Genetic Risk Factors In Ad
Once genes that increase liability for AD actually have been identified, a key question will be how that information can best be used for prevention. Geneticists such as Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, and Nobel laureate James Watson, have pointed out the potential dangers of “negative” eugenic approaches that emphasize removal from the gene pool of alleles that increase liability for non-Mendelian psychiatric disorders . has suggested that a more fruitful approach to applying knowledge about liability genes may lie in another direction, namely, in identifying crucial interactions between environmental factors and these genes, in order to tailor interventions that provide optimal environments for individuals who carry these genes. But do some of the most crucial gene-environment interactions occur during the pre- and perinatal periods of development? Efforts to answer this question should be a high priority of research on AD, given that key genetic and environmental factors in this disorder appear to exert their effects on the developing brain near, or even before, birth.
Can Stress During Pregnancy Cause Autism
You might want to take a few deep breaths before you read this.
It seems like almost every day researchers are pointing the finger at something as a possible cause of autism spectrum disorder . Now the latest in a long line of culprits is apparently stress during pregnancy.
We already know maternal stress has been linked to a bunch of unwelcome outcomes like pre-term delivery and low birth weight not to mention an increase in behavioral problems in kids later in life. But a 2016 study in the New England Journal of Medicine tells us that being stressed out while pregnant may cause autism, too.
“We know that some mothers who experience significant levels of stress don’t have children with autism, but others do,” explained senior author of the study, David Beversdorf, M.D. “Autism was thought to be largely a genetic disorder, but previous research has shown that environmental influences such as stress can play an important role in the development of the condition.”
Their findings? The moms of kids with ASD who had the variation reported feeling more stress during the end of the second and the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy. Yikes!
- RELATED: Early Signs of Autism in Babies