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Study: Flu and Fever in Pregnancy Linked to Autism


An intriguing new study has found a connection between women who had flu and fevers in pregnancy and those who went on to have kids with autism. Women who had the flu while pregnant were twice as likely to later have a child with autism; those who had a fever for a week or more were three times as likely to have a child on the spectrum.

In the study, published in Pediatrics, researchers looked at more than 96,000 children born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003. Mothers were asked about infections, fevers and antibiotic use during their pregnancies and during the first few weeks postpartum. Researchers also found a connection between antibiotics and autism, but its unclear if the culprit is the antibiotics themselves or if women who took them were just sicker. Researchers also looked at common illnesses like respiratory or urinary tract infections, but found no connection.

Plus: Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Guide

While this study would probably send most pregnant women into a panic, the researchers want to stress that the great majority of women who did fight fever or flu in pregnancy did not go on to have a child with autism.

Did you get sick while you were pregnant? Leave a comment.