Heading Off Autism in the Womb

Creative Commons License photo credit: pvera

Autism has risen dramatically in the past couple of decades. Unfortunately, there are many voices – often loud, angry voices – telling us what they thing causes autism. Yet the fact remains that it’s not exactly clear what can cause autism. What is clear is that there can be many factors, and that we still have so much to learn.

According to information from one Autism study at UC Davis, researchers now thing that taking prenatal vitamins may help to reduce the risk of your baby being autistic. In this study, women who took prenatal vitamins were about half as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism when compared with women who did not take any.

This is a significant statistic, but what’s even more frightening is the numbers for women who have certain genetic risks. Those women with a genetic predisposition to having a child with autism were up to seven times as likely to have a child with autism compared to women with the same risk who took prenatal vitamins.

So, what does that tell us? Well, there are a few nuggets of wisdom we can pull from this:

  • Prenatal vitamins are worth taking even before you’re pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive, consider starting your prenatal vitamins now.
  • If you’re having trouble with your prenatal vitamins (for example, if they make you nauseous) talk to your doctor. You may need a vitamin with lower iron content. Dropping them altogether isn’t a viable solution, now more than ever.
  • More research is vital. Again, because of all of the focus on autism in the media, it’s important that researchers continue to find ways not only to try to identify the possible causes of autism, but how to treat it effectively.

Missing your prenatal vitamin for a day isn’t going to make your child have autism, of course. Still, it’s more important now than ever to make sure that you are taking them, and taking them regularly.

So, what do you think? Autism is a complex problem, and there are many connected components. What has your experience been?

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