Mom’s Poor Health Increases Baby’s Risk for Autism

By Denise Reynolds, RD for

A major study has found that when pregnant women are obese or have correlating conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, their children are more likely to be born with autism or another neurodevelopmental disorder.

Irva Hertz-Picciotto, a professor of public health services, and Paula Krakowiak MS, a PhD candidate at the MIND Institute at the University of California Davis, and colleagues compared the medical histories of 315 typically developing children to those of 517 children with autism and 172 children with other developmental disorders enrolled in the CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetic and the Environment) study. The team also looked at measures of intellectual capacity using the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales (VABS), which assessed cognitive and adaptive development, respectively.

The researchers found that when mothers were obese during their pregnancies, their children had nearly a 70% increased risk of having autism.

To learn much more about how a woman’s health during pregnancy affects her baby, read the rest of this article at

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