Women abused as children likelier to give birth to autistic kids

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 21, 2013 05:40 hrs

Women who underwent physical, emotional, or sexual abuse when they were children are more likely to have a kid, who is suffering with autism compare to others who faced no abuse.

According to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), woman who experienced the most serious abuse were three-and-a-half times more likely to have a child with autism.

The researchers examined data from more than 50,000 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II and found that it was not just women exposed to the most serious levels of abuse who had higher risk of having a child with autism, but also a large number of women who experienced moderate abuse.

While about 2 percent of women reported the most serious abuse, even women in the top 25 percent of abuse severity- that includes women who experienced moderate levels of abuse -were 60 percent more likely to have a child with autism compared with women who did not experience abuse.

The authors said that these observations suggest that abuse in childhood is not only harmful to person who directly experiences it, but could also increase risk for serious disabilities in the next generation.

The researchers also looked at nine pregnancy-related risk factors to see if they were linked to higher risk of having a child with autism in women, who were abused as children.

These nine risk factors-including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and smoking-have been earlier associated with an increased likelihood of having a child with autism.

The study has been published in JAMA Psychiatry. (ANI)

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