Authors: The Autism News
By Sarah Knapton | The Telegraph
Parents should avoid having children too close together, after a study found that babies conceived within 12 months of the birth of a sibling were more likely to be autistic.
Youngsters were 150 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with autism if they were conceived less than a year after their mothers had given birth compared with those born later.
The safest period of conception was found to be between two and five years where there was no extra risk.
But after a five year interval the chance of autism rose again by 30 per cent and a ten year gap increased the risk by 40 per cent.
“This study provides further evidence that environmental factors occurring during or near the prenatal period play a role in autism, a serious and disabling condition that afflicts millions of individuals and that is increasing in prevalence,” said senior author of the study, Dr Alan Brown of Columbia University.
The team claim it is unclear whether the rise in risk is directly caused by the gap, or if other factors which lead to mothers having children more quickly are driving the problem.
But Dr Keely Cheslack-Postava added: “It was intriguing to see that the risk of Autistic Spectrum Disorder diagnosis was higher in both closely and distantly spaced pregnancies.”
Researchers from Columbia University, US, studied records from more than 7,000 babies born between 1987 and 2005 in Finland. Around one third had been diagnosed with autism.