Study Suggests Autism Risk Increases With Close Pregnancies

January 11,2011
Lindsay Hutton( )

 According to the CDC, autism spectrum disorders have drastically risen in the past decade, and now affect nearly 1 in 10 children.

The cause is unknown, and it seems every time I turn on the television, there is another newly-released study that points to another possible risk or cause.

And the latest is pretty scary-- a study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that closely spaced pregnancies might raise the risk of  the second child having autism.

The latest study is based on the analysis of 66,000 second born children.

According to the study, babies born within a year of a sibling were three times more likely to be diagnosed with autism, and children born less than two years after a sibling are twice as likely,  when compared to children born more than three years after a sibling.

Researchers point out  that the study does not prove that short gaps between pregnancies causes autism in children. While they aren't sure of the exact reason between the association, researchers are looking into two possibilites.

One, closely spaced pregnancies might deplete the mother of important nutrients like iron and folate, which play a role in a child's development.

And secondly, autistic behaviors might be more noticeable in second children when there is an older sibling close in age for comparison.

Although these new findings have some weight to them, researchers aren't urging parents to space out there pregnancies. The risk of the second child is still pretty rare, with a parent having a one percent chance of having their child being born with autism.

How do you feel about this study? Does it carry enough weight to keep you from getting pregnant soon after your first child is born? Tell us what you think!