Autism linked to induced or augmented labor, study says
August 12th, 2013
04:01 PM ET

Autism linked to induced or augmented labor, study says

As scientists struggle to understand the causes of autism, a potential new pattern has emerged: The condition is associated with induced or augmented labor, according to a new study.

Induction means stimulating contractions before spontaneous labor begins. Augmentation means helping contractions become stronger, longer or more frequent. Both of these methods of expediting deliveries have helped mothers who have health conditions that could be detrimental to them or their child.

The researchers did not prove that these treatments cause autism. Women should not read the new study, which is published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, and decide against expediting labor on that basis, said Simon Gregory, researcher at Duke University Medical Center and lead author of the study.

"It’s a decision between them and their healthcare provider," Gregory said, but the data do not "outweigh the risks that would come with just not wanting to be induced or augmented at all, because then you’re the placing the mother and the infant’s life at risk."


Autism spectrum disorders are developmental conditions characterized by social, communication and behavioral difficulties.

About 1 in 88 children has a diagnosed autism spectrum disorder, according to the latest estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Although there is evidence that genetics plays a role, environmental factors may also be at play in altering normal development. A recent study of twins found that susceptibility to autism can increase in prenatal and early postnatal environments.


The study looked at more than 625,000 records of children's birth and education from North Carolina. Researchers obtained information on the demographics of both parents, the mother's medical history age at pregnancy, and infant health.

Although this is a large sample size, study authors could not control for every variable that might have influenced the results. They did not have information about paternal age, for example, or what medications the mothers were taking. Researchers also did not obtain data about where on the autism spectrum the children fall in this study.


Researchers found a strong link between treatments to expedite labor and males who had autism; for females, less so.

Male infants born in deliveries in which labor was both induced and augmented were 35% more likely to have autism than those whose mother did not have either of these treatments. For induction alone, risk was elevated 18%. For augmentation alone, risk went up 15%.

The risk to females was not significantly elevated when labor was both induced and augmented, or induced alone. The likelihood of autism went up with augmentation alone, 21%.

"The risk is modest but significant, particularly considering that this is a potential risk factor many pregnant women may be exposed to during labor," according to a statement from Autism Speaks, a leading autism science and advocacy organization.

The gender gap seen in the study is intriguing to scientists, Gregory said, because autism is more common in males in general - in fact, nearly five times as many boys than girls have autism spectrum disorders.

What it means, however, is unclear.

Researchers also found support for other autism risk factors that previous studies have established. Older maternal age raised the risk 30%, being first born increased risk 21%, and having a mother with gestational diabetes upped the risk by 24%.

They did not find any increased risk for children born in Cesarean sections compared to vaginal births.


This data does not demonstrate that induced or augmented labor causes autism. It only shows an association; scientists do not yet know what explains the connection.

Gregory said there could be a number of underlying factors that this study did not directly address, including the health of the mother, drugs used to induce or augment birth, fetal stress, or other medications that the mother is taking. The act of inducing or augmenting may be to blame, but alternatively the medical and obstetric conditions around those treatments could have something to do with it, or even some other events that commonly occur to women whose labor is expedited. At this stage, no one knows.

But researchers say the underlying mechanism is worth looking into, given that expedited labor isn't rare. About 23% of births in the United States in 2008 were induced, and 17% were augmented in 2002, Gregory said.

"This is the largest study to date demonstrating an association between induced or augmented childbirth and autism, and the next step is for research to better understand the possible mechanisms behind this relationship," according to a statement from Autism Speaks.

Gregory and colleagues want to go back to these medical records and dig deeper, but also study other mothers and children going forward to see if they can figure out why they're at increased risk.

More: Prenatal exposure to pollution raises risk of autism in kids

CNN's John Bonifield contributed to this report 

soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. frolep rotrem

    Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited from this site.


    February 17, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 10vina

    Does your website have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to send you an e-mail. I've got some suggestions for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.


    February 21, 2021 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. zortilo nrel

    You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.


    February 24, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ClarkTauts

    t6z9v quz6h 7e70

    March 2, 2021 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Seema Pahl

    You made some clear points there. I looked on the internet for the topic and found most individuals will go along with with your website.


    March 4, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. frolep rotrem

    whoah this blog is excellent i love reading your posts. Keep up the great work! You know, a lot of people are hunting around for this info, you can help them greatly.


    March 15, 2021 at 09:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. the best massage in london

    Hey, thanks for the blog article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.


    March 22, 2021 at 06:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Walter Veazie

    I like what you guys are up too. Such intelligent work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I?¦ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it'll improve the value of my website 🙂


    March 24, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Rigoberto Seda

    I just like the helpful info you supply in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more here frequently. I'm reasonably certain I’ll be told a lot of new stuff proper here! Good luck for the following!


    March 25, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Luther Chesmore

    Very great post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I've truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing for your feed and I hope you write again soon!


    March 25, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. 플렉스홀덤

    103538 278376This web page is actually a walk-through its the internet you desired with this and didnt know who require to. Glimpse here, and youll certainly discover it. 385251

    March 29, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. sexton dental clinic in florence sc

    961364 329144I really prize your piece of function, Wonderful post. 205382

    March 30, 2021 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. canadian weight loss pills

    canadian weight loss pills https://canadapillstorex.com/ canadian pills online

    April 12, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. trimix vs alprostadil

    alprostadil gel online https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil mexico

    April 14, 2021 at 23:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. tadalafil 30 mg

    tadalis sx https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil online

    April 16, 2021 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. sildenafil 20 mg coupon

    where can i get cheap sildenafil https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ 20 mg sildenafil 680

    April 19, 2021 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. canadian pharmacy generic cialis

    cialis, sale, canadian pharm. https://canadacialisstore.com/ cialis on line purches canadian pharmacy

    April 21, 2021 at 06:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. buy zithromax pfizer

    z pak strength https://zithromaxes.com/ azithromycin drug class

    April 22, 2021 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. buy generic vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online

    purchase vardenafil online https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil tablets 20 mg best price

    April 25, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    canadian customs pills vitamins https://canadapillstorex.com/ best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    April 25, 2021 at 23:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. chloroquine for malaria

    chlorquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chrloroquine

    April 30, 2021 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. avana

    avana 50 mg avanafil 200

    May 1, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. buy generic cialis without prescription canadian pharmacy

    canadian generic cialis safe https://canadacialisstore.com/ buying canadian cialis

    May 1, 2021 at 19:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. erectile dysfunction drug

    erectile capacity https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile disorder

    May 2, 2021 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. the best replica watches in the world

    598206 289973Of course like your website but you require to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling difficulties and I locate it really bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless Ill certainly come back again. 690884

    May 7, 2021 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. priligy

    priligy buy avanafil uk

    May 8, 2021 at 04:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Donna Zampaglione

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs


    May 10, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Malena Teresa

    This was awesome! I would like you to clean up all this spam though


    May 11, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. richard mille replica

    Find the previous capacity.


    May 12, 2021 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. perfect watches

    The intersection of the Asia Pacific Ocean


    May 13, 2021 at 02:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. replicawatches

    Choose winter


    May 15, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. brimonidine

    brimonidine tartrate 2% combigan coupon

    May 16, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Taylor Ranch

    I don't know about you all but I love airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/07/come-party-in-alaska-airlines-board-room/


    May 16, 2021 at 15:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Ernesto Sudlow

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a game where you can do anything you want. sl is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these sl articles and blogs


    May 17, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Mack Shadiack

    I don't know about you guys but I am obsessed with airplanes. I have a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/09/lost-in-time-when-alaska-airlines-flew-boeing-707s-2/


    May 17, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Bennie Makhija

    Hi, I do think this is an excellent website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 19, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Rayford Leray

    I don't know about you people but I infatuated with airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loves airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff I don't know about you guys but I love airplanes. I had a friend in highschool that loved airplanes, so here are some airplane related stuff https://www.airlinereporter.com/2010/01/fun-with-photos-5-engines-on-a-qantas-boeing-747-400/


    May 19, 2021 at 03:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. canlı casino

    292813 222468good day, your internet website is low-cost. I do several thanks for succeed 286021

    May 19, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Penney Lannigan

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs


    May 20, 2021 at 02:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Alejandrina Conca

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these second life websites and blogs


    May 20, 2021 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. cyclomune

    cyclosporine medication cyclosporine ophthalmic

    May 21, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Luciano Routt

    supplier of chemical


    May 22, 2021 at 01:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. stornobrzinol

    Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such an ideal way? I've a project that I'm just now working on, and I've been on the look out for such information.


    May 23, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Kristyn Morthland

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is essentially a video game where you can do anything you want. Second life is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life authors and blogs


    May 23, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. tausAffessy

    generic cialis online fast shipping cialis at canadian pharmacy tadalafil https://tadacipetadalafil.com/

    May 24, 2021 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. brimonidine

    buy brimonidine online brimonidine dosage

    May 25, 2021 at 00:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Soosteemocush

    tadalafil daily online cheap cialis pills for sale buy tadalafil lowest price cialis https://tadalafilww.com/

    May 25, 2021 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. tausAffessy

    tadalafil buy tadalis buy generic cialis online with mastercard side effects of tadalafil https://tadalafilol.com/ – generic cialis online fast shipping

    May 25, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. tausAffessy

    side effects for tadalafil https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – where to buy generic cialis online safely tadalafil drug tadalafil goodrx buy cialis

    May 26, 2021 at 14:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Soosteemocush

    canada generic tadalafil https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil dosage tadalafil generic tadalafil brands side effects of tadalafil

    May 27, 2021 at 00:27 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4

Leave a Reply to Seema Pahl


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

August 2013
  • An error has occurred, which probably means the feed is down. Try again later.