A new research study indicates that women who are obese may have a higher risk of having a baby with autism. Researchers found that women who were obese during their pregnancies risk of having children with autism increased by almost 70 percent and the risk of having a baby with other neurodevelopmental disorder doubled.
During the study, researchers looked closely at the impact of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy. They compared medical history of 315 typically developing children to those of 517 children with autism and 172 children with developmental disorders.
Moms with diabetes were slightly more likely to have a baby with autism but the numbers weren’t large enough to definitively rule that the numbers weren’t just by coincidence. Researchers did determine that a mom’s diabetes and other neurodevelopmental disorder were stronger and in fact the moms were more likely to have a child diagnosed with this disorder later in life.
Dr. Daniel Coury, Chief of Developmental and Behavior Pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH said “The results raise quite a concern. Autism rates have increased along with obesity rates and the research suggests that this may be the coincidence.”
Of course more research needs to be done to prove that obesity is a major cause of autism but we now know that inflammatory proteins produced by the cells of an obese mom affect how the brain develops. The study’s lead researcher Paila Krakowiak, a PH. D. candidate at the University of California, Davis has said, “These same proteins are involved in the normal development of the brain,” Krakowiak said. “When the level of those immunological markers is higher or lower than the normal range it might affect how the brain develops in an adverse way. And at least one type has been shown to be able to cross over the placenta to the fetus.”
Research is still being conducted to determine whether obesity is a sure affect of autism but with the minor findings, I think it’s enough for an obese woman wanting to have a family to lose weight. Why put yourself or your fetus in danger.
We will report any new findings as they come in.