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Weight Gain in Pregnancy Linked to Autism in Kids

Update Date: Oct 29, 2013 09:08 AM EDT

There is an association between autism spectrum disorders and weight gained during pregnancy, a new study has found.

They study performed by the researchers at University of Utah identified the association that existed between autism spectrum disorder risk and parental weight gain. They accounted some important related factors like woman’s pre-pregnancy BMI.

“The risk of autism spectrum disorder associated with a modest yet consistent increase in pregnancy weight gain suggests that pregnancy weight gain may serve as an important marker for autism’s underlying gestational etiology,” Deborah A. Bilder, M.D., lead author of the study said according to TOI.

Autism is a term that is used to characterize a group of disorders that affects the normal development of brain. The developmental disorder usually starts by age of just three and continue for lifetime. Patients with autism suffer significant social, behavioural and communication changes. They also find difficulties in social interaction.

Two group of children were involved in the study. First group included 128 children who were suffering from autism and around eleven thousand without any problem. The second group involved 288 autistic children.

“These findings suggest that weight gain during pregnancy is not the cause of ASD but rather may reflect an underlying process that it shares with autism spectrum disorders, such as abnormal hormone levels or inflammation,” Bilder added according to IBTimes.

However there is nothing to panic about the findings.

“The findings in this study are important because they provide clues to what may increase the risk of having an autism spectrum disorder and provide a specific direction for researchers to pursue as they search for the causes for autism spectrum disorders,” said Bilder according to IBTimes. 

“Doctors have known for a long time that proper nutrition is essential to a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should not change their diet based on these results. Rather, this study provides one more piece for the autism puzzle that researchers are exploring.”

The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.

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