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Medical errors in birth injury, induction links to autism?

Expectant mothers in North Carolina may be rethinking inducing their labor after a study showed links between the practice and later causes of autism in children. Also referenced in the study was the fact that stress to a fetus, such as a birth injury, made the chances of a child developing autism much higher than normal. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that about 23 percent of all U.S. births were induced.

Researchers in the study examined North Carolina Detailed Birth Record and Education Research databases of over 625,000 live births along with their accompanying school records. Results of the study showed that induction of labor was deemed responsible for two out of every 1,000 cases of autism in boys. The researchers said that two cases of autism in 1,000 births was statistically significant.

The relation between autism and the method used to induce labor was investigated by the study’s authors. Induced labor was reported to give babies a 13 percent chance of developing the disorder. Augmented labor, in which a doctor tries to restart a stalled birth, was cited as cause in 17 percent of cases.

Methods of bringing about labor other than the use of hormone medication brought a 27 percent chance of autism in those children. The researchers compared these numbers with other suspected pregnancy-related causes of autism. Diabetes resulted in a 23 percent rate, and other distress to the fetus such as a birth injury, raised the chance of autism to 25 percent.

An attorney experienced in litigating cases of medical malpractice, such as doctor error resulting in birth injury, may be able to help families affected. Such a lawyer may be able to arrange compensation for long-term care and other needs.

Source: CBS News, “Induced labor may increase risk of autism in offspring“, Michelle Castillo, August 12, 2013

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