MIAMI (AFP) – Children born to women who suffered a high-blood pressure condition called pre-eclampsia during pregnancy are twice as likely to have autism or other developmental delays, US researchers said Monday.
The study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, a journal of the American Medical Association, also found that the more severe the pre-eclampsia, the higher the likelihood of autism.
The research involved more than 1,000 children aged two to three in northern California.
All of their mothers had confirmed diagnoses of pre-eclampsia, and scientists compared data about those developing normally to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delays.
“We found significant associations between pre-eclampsia and ASD that increased with severity,” said senior author Cheryl Walker, assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Davis.
“We also observed a significant association between severe pre-eclampsia and developmental delay.” Autism spectrum disorder affects as many as one in 88 children in the United States.