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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Epidural use during childbirth linked to minimal autism risk, study finds

28 September (WNN) — According to the authors of two separate studies published Tuesday by JAMA, using an epidural for pain management during labor does not significantly increase the risk of newborns for developing autism spectrum disorder later.

In the first study, which tracked nearly 390,000 babies born in Canadian hospitals between 2000 and 2014, 1.5% of those exposed to epidurals during birth were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, according to data from It shows.

In comparison, about 1.3% of babies born through childbirth in whom anesthetic was not used developed the disorder.

“We truly believe that our study presents another reassuring finding that suggests the lack of a significant association between epidural use during labor and delivery and autism spectrum disorder,” said study co-author, Canadian, Doctor. Gillian Hanley told WNN in an email.

“We think our study provides more evidence that they are not associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder in a significant and meaningful way,” said Hanley, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Those exposed to epidurals during birth have a nearly 5% increased risk of autism, according to the authors of the same analysis of nearly 480,000 babies born in Denmark between 2006 and 2013.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges in those affected.

The agency says that people with the disorder may communicate, interact, behave and learn differently from others, although some can be highly intelligent, while others may require assistance with day-to-day activities.

About one in 54 children in the United States are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, it estimates.

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The cause of the disorder remains unknown, although a study published earlier this month linked severe infections in infancy with its development.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, epidural anesthesia, given via injection, is used in more than half of childbirth in the United States, making it the most commonly used method for pain relief during labor. Is.

Current guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not recommend against the drug, but support efforts to reduce its use, and whenever possible at lower doses.

For the study in Canada, Hanley and colleagues followed 388,254 babies born in hospitals in British Columbia for a period of about nine years.

Of these children, 5,192, or 1.3%, suffered from autism spectrum disorder.

Of the 111,480 deliveries in which epidurals were used, 1,710 or 1.5% of the babies later developed the disorder.

According to the researchers, of the 276,774 deliveries in which anesthetic was not used, 3,482, or 1.3%, were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The Danish analysis drew similar findings, with 1,409 of 92,900, or 1.5%, children exposed to epidurals during birth developed autism spectrum disorder, compared to 5,019 of 386,278, or 1.3%, who developed an autism spectrum disorder. I was not.

“As a clinician it is my opinion that labor epidurals do not cause autism in children,” study co-author Dr. Anders Pretzmann Mickelson from Denmark told WNN in an email.

“Nothing suggests that women with risk factors for autism, such as a family history, should be concerned that the labor epidemic will increase the risk of their child being diagnosed with autism,” said Mickelson, a professor of gynecology and obstetrics. on cOpenhagen University Hospital.


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