NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – There is a link between pregnancy fever and the increased risk of autism in later stages of their lives, a recent study suggests. Scientists who reached that conclusion indicated that mothers who are exposed to fever during the second trimester of pregnancy are likely to have a 40 percent risk of developing autism.
The research team studied 100,000 mothers and their babies between 1999 and 2009, including 583 cases of autism spectrum disorder identified in Norway. It was found that mothers of 15,701 children (approximately 16%) reported fever at one or more weeks of pregnancy. The results showed that the risk of the disease increased by 34% when mothers reported fever at any time during pregnancy and 40% for mothers when they had fever during the second trimester. In addition, the risk of autism for children of women who reported three or more fever cases after the 12th week of pregnancy increased by more than 300%.
In addition to these results, the risk of autism was reduced to a minimum among children of women taking anti-fever drugs in the second trimester. In addition, autism was not reported among children of mothers who took ibuprofen anti-inflammatory drugs.
"Our findings indicate the role of infection in pregnant women and the immune responses to infection at the onset of some autism spectrum disorders," said the study's first author, Dr. Mady Hornig, professor of epidemiology and director of transitional research at the Institute of Science and Technology. The researchers hope this study will help to focus on prevention of prenatal infection and infections that people must take seriously and can have serious health complications for the mother and child.