Overweight expectant mothers ‘more likely of having a child with autism’

According to a recent study, women are more likely to give birth to children that are on the autistic spectrum if they are also overweight during their pregnancy.

Conducted by a research team at China’s Central South University, the study analysed international data that focused on the link between pregnancy and the body weight of 200,000 individuals.

The results found that obese women with high blood sugar levels were almost 47 per cent more likely to give birth to a child with autism when compared to results for women who had an average weight in relation to their height.

The news supports findings produced by other medical research teams, including a study by the University of California, which found that pregnant women were 1.6 times more likely to have a son or daughter with the condition if also obese.

However, previous studies have never been carried out on such a large participant sample, meaning that the results are adding a level of reliability not seen before.

Though the research team has called for more work to be done in assessing the potential link, the main theory being put forward is that the high blood sugar levels often associated with overweight women are the main reason.

This is because high levels can have an impact on a foetus’s development, particularly in the brain and central nervous system.

More information about the study is available in the latest issue of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

 

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