CHICAGO -- A large study suggests autism might be linked with inducing and speeding up labor.
The results are preliminary and autism experts say they need investigating since labor is induced in increasing numbers of U.S. women.
It's possible that labor-inducing drugs might increase the risk -- or that problems that lead doctors to induce labor explain the results. These include mothers' diabetes and fetal complications. Both have previously been linked with autism.
But like most research into autism causes, the research doesn't provide conclusive answers, and the authors say the results shouldn't lead doctors to avoid inducing labor since it can be life-saving for mothers and babies.
The government-funded study is based on data on more than 600,000 births in North Carolina. It was published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.