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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 26 January 2022

'Children born by C-section have 23% increased risk of developing autism'

However, the authors of the study have said that more research is needed.

Image: pregnant woman via Shutterstock

A NEW STUDY has found that children born by Caesarean sections have a 23% increased risk of developing autism.

However, it also cautioned that the overall risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) -though elevated – remains small and that more research is needed to further explore the risk.

The research, led by Eileen Curran of University College Cork, is to be published in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Professor Louise Kenny, one of the authors and a practicing obstetrician said:

Parents should be reassured that the overall risk of a child developing ASD is very small and that Caesarean section is largely a very safe procedure and when medically indicated, it can be lifesaving.

Further research needed 

The study says it is unclear what is driving the association.

It says that further investigation is needed to understand the interrelationship between environmental factors, such as mode of delivery, and genetic factors with regards to the causes of ASD.

Lead author, Eileen Curran, said, “Given the accelerating rate of Caesarean section globally, this finding warrants further research of a more robust quality using larger populations to adjust for important potential confounders and explore potential causal mechanisms.”

The study examined the published literature on observational studies in various countries including the United States, Australia, Canada and Sweden that investigated the effects of delivery by Caesarean section on ASD.

Researchers also reviewed literature on delivery by Caesarean section and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, only two studies were included, and findings were unclear.

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