U of U study looks at pregnancy weight gain and Autism

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A new study at the University of Utah is looking at the link between pregnancy weight gain and autism. The study is called "Maternal Prenatal Weight Gain and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - A new study at the University of Utah is looking at the link between pregnancy weight gain and autism. The study is called "Maternal Prenatal Weight Gain and Autism Spectrum Disorder."

"It’s not that this study showed that weight gain during pregnancy causes autism that's not how the study was designed that's not what it proved, said Dr. Deborah Bilder, the lead researcher for the study.

She says what it does prove is there is an underline process that weight gain shares with Autism Spectrum Disorders such as abnormal hormone levels or inflammation.

During the study the researchers looked at two different groups of children with autism to determine whether a marker for abnormal hormone levels during pregnancy might be different in children with autism versus children without the disorder.

"We found no difference in pre- pregnancy BMI between pregnancy of children who developed autism and the pregnancies of children who did not develop autism but we did find a small modest increase in weight gain during pregnancy associated with pregnancies that were of children who developed autism,” said Dr. Bilder.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention autism in Utah occurs in 1 out of 47 8-year-old children. On a national level, 2% percent of the population has autism. Further, Dr. Bilder says women currently pregnant or women thinking about pregnancy should not change their diet based off the University of Utah’s recent study.

"You need to gain weight during pregnancy. You need to allow that baby to grow and to nourish it,” Say Dr. Bilder.

The purpose of the study is really for researchers to get a closer look at autism and to let the general public know they are working on trying to find what causes the disorder.

 

 

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