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ACOG: Induced Labor Doesn't Appear to Cause Autism — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
April 22, 2014

ACOG: Induced Labor Doesn't Appear to Cause Autism

By Kelly Young

There is no causal relationship between labor induction or augmentation and the development of autism spectrum disorders, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) concludes. Previously, researchers had proposed that synthetic oxytocin used for induction and augmentation could change oxytocin receptors in the fetus and predispose these children to autism.

A 2013 study found an increased risk for autism in children who were born by induced or augmented labor, but ACOG pointed to several weaknesses in that study. For instance, the researchers did not know which agents were used for induction or augmentation. The study also had missing data on potential confounders.

In addition, the ACOG authors write, reducing labor induction or augmentation could increase the cesarean rate.

Given these limitations and potential unintended consequences, ACOG "recommends against a change in current guidance regarding counseling and indications for and methods of labor induction and augmentation."

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