Researchers are claiming that babies who are born following an induced or medically accelerated delivery 'have higher risk of developing autism' – with boys being more at risk than girls.
The US study found that baby boys who are induced are a third more vulnerable to autism, as are babies whose deliveries were sped up by drugs such as oxytocin.Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina analysed 625,042 live births linked with school records, including 5,500 children classified with autism and found that girls were found to be at a lesser increased risk where medication had been used to increase the speed of labour.
The findings revealed that the risk of autism in male babies was between 15 per cent and 35 per cent higher, but overall, the chances of an assisted birth child developing autism still remained very low.
The Mail reports that experts in Britain dismissed the report – which was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics - by saying the risk of inducing a baby outweighed the potentially fatal complications that could then occur in delivery.
The authors say their findings 'do not prove cause and effect, but suggest the need for more research', particularly as 'labour induction and augmentation have been used more frequently in recent years'.