Fevers During Pregnancy Raise Autism Risk, Study Shows – NBC News
There’s more evidence linking infections during pregnancy with a child’s risk of autism.
The new report, out Tuesday, shows that women who had infections while pregnant were more likely to have children with autism.
The more fevers they had, the higher the risk — and the second trimester of pregnancy seemed to be an especially important time. Women who had fevers in the second trimester of pregnancy were 40 percent more likely to have a child with autism.
The findings, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, support the theory that it might be the body’s response to an infection rather than a bacteria or virus that’s damaging the developing baby’s brain.
“Risks increased markedly and dose dependently with fever frequency, with particularly strong effects after 12 weeks’ gestation,” Dr. Mady Hornig of Columbia University and colleagues wrote in their report.
Women who took acetaminophen to lower their fevers were less likely to have a child later diagnosed with autism, although it’s too early to say whether the acetaminophen — the active ingredient in Tylenol — lowered the risk. None of the women who took ibuprofen had children with autism but so few women took ibuprofen that it’s hard to say what the effect was, the researchers noted.
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