New research examines link between pregnancy weight gain, autism spectrum disorders

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  • Dr. DeMio Draper, UT
    Oct. 29, 2013 12:57 p.m.

    In my practice we’ve looked at the prepregnancy size of the mom (not her BMI) as a risk for ASD. Our own experience is that many of the mothers of individuals with autism are small, often being unusually short, or with normal height but they have unusually small bones. This isn’t picked up by the BMI choice made by the authors. We find that the child of the small mom is at risk for ASD. The BMI does not give regard to the height, while the small-size concept takes a proportional view.

    It would do well for all of us to politely recognize that parents (especially women) feel guilty enough about being told they’ve caused their child’s autism, without the rather cold announcement that the latest factor is gaining weight in gestation. We simply have not found a 30% increase in the chance of a woman’s child developing ASD by an extra pound when she’s pregnant.

  • Hawk Littleton, CO
    Oct. 28, 2013 2:08 p.m.

    Wow. The study that launched a million maternal guilt trips....

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 28, 2013 9:52 a.m.

    I was so impressed with the sensitivity of these researchers, that they would emphasize repeatedly that gestational weight gain is not the mother's fault. Having a baby puts the mother's body through incredible stress and introduces a new and complex set of genetic interactions. Weight gain, before and after birth, is often an unavoidable result.

    Having a child is the most noble sacrifice a person can make. This needs to be said on other days besides Mother's Day.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Oct. 28, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    I would love to see the more data on this. From data gathered elsewhere, under weight mothers have been also attributed to low weight child births, as well as a close correlation to mothers not going full term. This is again a story of this being only a portion of a very complex story. While it is popular to blame all ailments on over weight, in pregnancy specifically, mothers who restrict calorie intake or undergo heavy workout programs has been shown to equally be problematic for child development.

    Lots more questions to be answered here.... stuff like this miss applied could cause more damage than the intended good. That said, I am not a doctor... I just look at their data....