Obese and diabetic women are four times more likely to have autistic child

Obese And Diabetic Women Are Four Times More Likely To Have Autistic Child

Children born to mothers who are obese and diabetic are over four times as likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder than children whose mothers have healthy weight and do not suffer from diabetes, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Study leader Xiaobin Wang, Professor in Child Health at the Bloomberg School, said, "We have long known that obesity and diabetes aren't good for mothers' own health. Now we have further evidence that these conditions also impact the long-term neural development of their children."

See more risk factors for complications during pregnancy:

Risk factors for complications during pregnancy
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Obese and diabetic women are four times more likely to have autistic child

Advanced maternal age

Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers age 35 and older.

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Lifestyle choices

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

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Medical history

 A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth — birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy — might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

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Underlying conditions

Chronic conditions — such as diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy — increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition also can increase pregnancy risks.

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Pregnancy complications

Various complications that develop during pregnancy pose risks, such as problems with the uterus, cervix or placenta. Other concerns might include too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) or low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), restricted fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitization — a potentially serious condition that can occur when your blood group is Rh negative and your baby's blood group is Rh positive.

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Multiple pregnancy

Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.

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Autism in the U.S. population has steadily risen since the 1960s—one in 68 children in the country is now diagnosed with the disorder. At the same time, rates of obesity and diabetes in women of reproductive age have also risen to epidemic levels.

According to a summary of the findings, "The biology of why obesity and diabetes may contribute to autism risk isn't well understood. Obesity and diabetes in general cause stress on the human body, the researchers say. Previous research suggests maternal obesity may be associated with an inflammation in the developing fetal brain. Other studies suggest obese women have less folate, a B-vitamin vital for human development and health."

The researchers note that women should pay attention to pregnancy as well as their pre-pregnancy health.

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