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Breaking research: Inducing childbirth may cause Autism

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On August 12, the famed Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics published a study suggesting inducing childbirth increases risk for developing autism. The study analyzed North Carolina Detailed Birth Records and featured 625,042 live births linked with school records, including more than “5,500 children with a documented exceptionality designation for autism.”

Results from the analysis proves that – in comparison to children who were born to mothers who were not pharmacologically-induced or augmented – “induced only, or augmented only experienced increased odds of autism after controlling for potential confounders related to socioeconomic status, maternal health, pregnancy-related events and conditions, and birth year.”

The ramifications for this study are paramount as 25 percent of all labors are induced in the U.S.

It all starts in the gut

In light of the anti-gluten/anti-casein campaigns that have reached American mainstream, it is becoming common knowledge that autism spectrum disorders (ASD), like autism, Asperger’s and ADHD, are heavily related to GI issues and the inability to digest specific food items. The role that drug therapies play during birth and the development of these disorders is now becoming a hot topic and more research is being conducted to understand what seems like an obvious correlation: more mothers than ever are utilizing drugs of various sorts during labor, and more children than ever are being diagnosed with ASD.

Pitocin already proven to cause ADHD

For example, the detrimental affects of using drugs to induce birth have long been suspected, and the past few years have revealed some shocking data. In 2011, the Journal of Attention Disorders published a study evaluating the connection between the popular birth-induction drug, Pitocin, and subsequent ADHD development in children. After analyzing the birth records and ADHD evaluations of the 172 “regionally diverse, heterogeneous children” chosen for the study, Colorado State University researchers determined that over 67 percent of kids whose mothers used Pitocin had diagnosable ADHD.

The role that epidurals play

Oftentimes, epidurals and birth induction run hand-in-hand. Typically, as epidurals numb the body to the pain related to childbirth, the mother is unable to naturally respond to the contractions that are needed to move the baby through the birth canal. As birth is delayed, mothers are either anxious or strongly encouraged by their obstetrician to induce birth in an effort to speed things along. Once the Pitocin kicks in, the pain ramps up as unnatural contractions take over in hyperdrive, necessitating the desire for more pain-killers.

Nursing vital for gut health and the fight against ASD

The cocktail of pharmaceuticals given to mothers today has also been linked to difficulties in breastfeeding. This is significant, because this past month it was proven that nursing enables healthy Bifidobacterium bacteria to colonize within infants’ GI tracts, which ultimately highlights that breast milk is nature’s first probiotic. This vital function provided by breast milk is a major factor in the gut health of a baby and, therefore, the child’s likelihood of developing autism or ADHD.

Epidurals linked to shorter breastfeeding times

The journal Breastfeeding Medicine published an article in 2011 that described the efforts that researchers from the University of Padua, Italy, took to examine the effects epidural analgesia has on labor and effective breastfeeding. Of the 128 patients recruited for the study, 64 women were randomly selected to receive epidurals and 64 were selected to give birth naturally. The results are astounding. Not only did the non-drug group deliver their babies on average 71 minutes faster than the epidural group, but their first breastfeeding duration was also significantly longer. Using the standard of 30 minute feeding times, it was determined that over 62 percent of the women who were given epidurals fed their infants for less than 30 minutes during their first feeding, whereas only 29 percent of women who delivered naturally fed for less than 30 minutes.

Considering the intimate interplay between drugs commonly used in birth today and ASD, it is important to contact your local midwife and natural health care provider to ensure you and your family are safe.

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