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Increased Autism Rate Linked to Induced or Augmented Childbirth

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Boys born to mothers who needed assistance inducing or augmenting birth may have a higher risk of autism, according to a new study.

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics, found that boys whose mothers either required stimulation to begin contractions or medical action to increase the strength duration and frequency of contractions were 35 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those who did not require procedures to assist in their births.

Induced labor can often help reduce medical complications for mothers and babies. The study analyzed over 600,000 birth records in North Carolina over an eight year span and matched them with public school records that would show whether a child was diagnosed with autism. More than 1.3 percent of male children and 0.4 percent of female children were diagnosed with autism during that eight year span.

The rate of autism diagnosis was higher among both sexes when the mother required induction or augmentation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in 50 U.S. children are diagnosed with autism or a related disorder.

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ABC News Radio