Common pregnancy complication linked to increased autism odds
High blood pressure during pregnancy may raise a woman’s chances of having an autistic child, according to a new analysis1.
The onset of high blood pressure during pregnancy, a condition known as preeclampsia, also increases the odds of other neurodevelopmental conditions, the study found.
“The effects of preeclampsia on fetal development may be broad-ranging, affecting a range of disabilities,” says lead researcher Allen Wilcox, scientist emeritus at the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Durham, North Carolina.
This work adds to a growing body of evidence that preeclampsia and related conditions, such as gestational diabetes, increase the chances of autism in a woman’s children, although the mechanisms remain unknown. Genetic factors could account for the associations.