Massachusetts infants who are born as a result of induced or augmented labor have a significantly increased incidence of autism. While giving birth is not in itself a risk-free endeavor, there are many instances where the actions taken by medical staff may increase the chance of birth injury. A recent study revealed that in a very small but nevertheless statistically significant number of cases, an autism diagnosis could have been prevented had the doctor not induced or augmented labor.
A review of birth and education statistics reveals that, in instances where labor was induced, the mother was 13 percent more likely to have an autistic child than instances where labor was allowed to progress naturally. The incidence of autism increased 16 percent in instances where the labor was augmented to move a stalled labor along. In births where labor was induced and augmented, the diagnosis of autism increased 27 percent. Despite these statistics, physicians caution that parents should not avoid necessary inductions or augmentations of labor if these procedures may be in the best interest of the child.
Induced and augmented labor and deliveries are not the only pregnancy related conditions that can increase the risk of autism; being obese, taking anti-seizure medicine or being exposed to pollutants during pregnancy may also increase the chances of having an autistic child.
Giving birth is a life-changing experience. The health of the infant and mother may be significantly impacted by decisions that physicians and other medical personnel make during delivery. In some instances, a medical mistake may lead to a significant injury that requires lifelong intervention and care. Medical malpractice attorneys may be able to obtain financial compensation for medical issues or complications arising out of medical mistakes or negligence. By holding medical professionals responsible for injuries caused by their decisions, medical malpractice attorneys may encourage improvements in medical practices and procedures.
Source: CBS News, “Induced labor may increase risk of autism in offspring”, Michelle Castillo, August 12, 2013