(HealthDay News) – Induction and/or augmentation during childbirth may be associated with increased odds of autism, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Simon G. Gregory, PhD, from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and colleagues conducted an epidemiological analysis involving the North Carolina Detailed Birth Record and Education Research Database to assess whether induced and/or augmented births correlate with increased odds of autism. A total of 625,042 live births linked with school records were featured in the study, including >5,500 children with a documented exceptionality designation for autism.

The researchers found that, after controlling for potential confounders related to socioeconomic status, maternal health, pregnancy-related events and conditions, and birth year, children born to mothers who were induced and augmented, induced only, or augmented only had increased odds of autism, compared with children born to mothers who received neither induction nor augmentation. The association was found to be particularly strong in male children.

“Our work suggests that induction/augmentation during childbirth is associated with increased odds of autism diagnosis in childhood,” the authors write. “While these results are interesting, further investigation is needed to differentiate among potential explanations of the association.”

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