Autism is increasing at alarming rates. Thirty or more years ago, only 1 child in 2,000 suffered from autism or a related disorder. Today, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that one school-age child out of every 68 is autistic. That means every child born today is 29 times more likely to have a life-long battle with autism. The difficulties experienced by the children, their families and the treatment costs are enormous.
Scientists have been working ceaselessly to identify the cause or causes of autism. Many researchers have been focusing on possible genetic and environmental causes. All scientists and parents agree it’s critically important to find out why some children develop this devastating syndrome and if autism can be prevented.
If you believe that your child’s birth injuries were caused by medical malpractice, you need a very experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer. The firm of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt has achieved record-setting verdicts and settlements. Call 888-991-0595 today for a free consultation.
Birth Complications and Autism
A recent study by Kaiser Permanente investigated the link between birth complications and autism. They discovered that birth asphyxia (oxygen deprivation), preeclampsia (high blood pressure and other problems during pregnancy) and other pregnancy and birth complications resulted in an increased risk the baby would develop autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Boys are especially vulnerable since they are 4.5 times more likely to become autistic.
Researchers examined the electronic health records of almost 600,000 children between 1991 and 2009. Their findings were troubling.
- 6,255 children had been diagnosed with some form of autism
- 37% of those children had been exposed to various issues that complicated their births
- Overall, birth complications resulted in a 10% increased risk of ASD when compared to children with “normal” births
- If the mother had a problem pregnancy prior to labor, the risk of the baby developing ASD increased to 22%
- If there had been problems both during the pregnancy and birth, the risk of developing ASD increased to 44%
Causes of Birth Asphyxia
Oxygen deprivation before or during birth can have very serious effects on an unborn child, including increased risk of ASD. Improved care during pregnancy and increased use of Cesarean sections could be helpful in preventing some of the damage suffered by infants. Some of the causes of birth asphyxia include:
- Very long labor
- Improper use of forceps
- Breech birth
- Detached placenta
- Maternal sedation
- Unattended delivery
Early Intervention is Critical
A 2009 study found that early intervention is extremely important. Autistic children as young as 18 months experienced improvements in language, IQ and social interaction skills. Understanding the increased risks of autism posed by birth complications and the value of early intervention could improve the lives of many at-risk children.
The link between birth complications and autism represents only one of the many possible ways in which negligent prenatal and delivery care could harm your baby.