No need to panic over c-section and autism link

No need to panic over c-section and autism link

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Last month, researchers published an analysis in JAMA Network Open of more than 60 studies from 19 countries examining the prevalence of neurological issues among children born via cesarean section. They found that kids born by c-section were about a third more likely to have autism spectrum disorder, and almost 20 percent were more likely to develop ADHD than children born vaginally.

These increased risks were the same, regardless of whether the c-section was planned or an emergency. Understandably, these study results could make you worry if you already have a child born by c-section or if you have an upcoming delivery. But here are some important points to consider:

  • Other health issues may explain the risk. Women who have certain health issues such as diabetes or hypertension are more likely to need a c-section. It could be these problems – not the c-sections themselves – that explain the increased risk of autism and ADHD.
  • Even in c-section babies, risks remain low. The actual difference between autism and ADHD rates in babies born by c-section and those born vaginally is small. For autism, the risk climbs from 0.8 percent to 1 percent. Rates of ADHD rise from 2.4 percent to 2.8 percent. "It's not very dramatic. It's statistically significant but from the population standpoint, the risk is not huge," pediatric psychiatrist Pankhuree Vandana told Reuters.
  • C-sections can be life saving. Providers are trying to reduce the use of unnecessary c-section surgery, and that's a good thing. But you shouldn't worry or feel bad if you have a c-section for medical reasons. The procedure could be saving you or your baby's life!

That said, the study findings point to a need for more research on associations between c-sections and long-term health impacts in children. Some studies have also found a link between c-section births and an increased risk of obesity, allergies, and other health problems.

Find out more about giving birth by cesarean section, including risks and what to expect during and after surgery.

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: Webinar - Women on the autism spectrum and eating disorders (July 2022).


  1. Chenzira

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  2. Jennalyn

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  3. Necuametl

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