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Autism Risk Rises in Closely Spaced Pregnancies, Study Finds - featured January 11, 2011

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[Source: MSNBC]

Parents planning more than one baby may have another reason for giving extra thought to the timing: A new study shows that the risk of autism may go up when a second child is conceived shortly after the first is born.

Columbia University researchers found that the risk of an autism diagnosis in a second-born child rose more than three-fold when the child was conceived within 12 months of the birth of the first baby, according to the study which was published online Monday in Pediatrics.

And second-borns conceived between 12 and 23 months after a first child was born had twice the risk of being diagnosed with autism compared to babies conceived a full three years after an older sibling was born.

The findings might be a sign that that something in the uterine environment is changed in the years immediately following pregnancy — women might be deficient in certain nutrients, such as folate, for example. But they might also be explained by some other factor shared by mothers who choose to conceive a second child shortly after the first is born, said the study’s lead author, Keely Cheslack-Postava, a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia.

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Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter 14 January 2011