No link between labor induction and autism

Current evidence does not support a correlation between labor induction and augmentation and the risk of autism spectrum disorders.

No link between labor induction and autism
No link between labor induction and autism

HealthDay News -- Current evidence does not support a correlation between labor induction and augmentation and the risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), according to researchers.

Because oxytocin is commonly administered for labor induction, and functional oxytocin deficiency and a faulty oxytocin signaling pathway have been observed in conjunction with ASDs, researchers from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) examined evidence relating to the proposed link between labor induction and ASDs.

"Current evidence does not identify a causal relationship between labor induction or augmentation in general, or oxytocin labor induction specifically, and autism or ASD," the researchers concluded in a Committee Opinion published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Reducing labor inductions and augmentations could increase the cesarean delivery rate and have an adverse impact on maternal and neonatal health, they noted. 

The researchers recommend against a change in current guidance limiting labor inductions and augmentations, noting limitations of available study design and conflicting data.

"Labor induction and augmentation play an essential role in protecting the health of some mothers and in promoting safe delivery of many babies," commented Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice, in a statement. "When compared with these benefits, the research, relative to the utilization of oxytocin, had clear limitations."

References

  1. Committee on Obstetric Practice. Obstet Gynecol. 2014;123(5):1140-1142.
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