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Autism study raises questions about iron intake during pregancy

The fear of autism in an unborn child is a very real concern for pregnant mothers; especially those who carry the common risk factors along with a child in their womb. Expectant mothers who are over 35 or have weight concerns or other metabolic issues such as diabetes or hypertension are prime candidates for giving birth to autistic children.

However, there is hope for mothers who have these concerns. According to a study published last fall in the American Journal of Epidemiology, taking iron supplements could reduce the risk of giving birth to a child with autism. 

According to past studies about autism, iron deficiency (and resulting anemia) is a very common nutrient deficiency that affects almost half of all pregnant women and their children. Since iron is essential to early brain development and neurotransmitter production, and the lack of iron can affect this development, it has been found that autism could be linked to iron deficiencies.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis interviewed more than 500 mothers about their iron intake in the months leading up to their pregnancy through the time they breast fed. They found that mothers with the highest levels of iron intake had half the risk of having an autistic child compared with those moms with low iron levels.

The story is an example of why it is important for doctors to closely monitor pregnancies and to advise patients about the intake of nutrients and the relative effects on an unborn child. If you have questions about whether a doctor’s actions (or inaction) could be deemed malpractice, an experienced attorney can help. 

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