New research shows women whose labors are induced or augmented may be more likely to have a child with autism, especially if the baby is a boy.
Researchers at Duke University looked at more than 600,000 records of births in North Carolina , and linked them to public school records.
They found labor that was both induced and augmented was associated with a 35 percent higher risk of autism in boys.
Experts say the findings don't prove that stimulating contractions before labor begins or increasing the strength and frequency of contractions during labor actually cause autism. They say more research is needed to confirm the findings.
Michael Rosanoff, the Associate Director Public Health Research at Autism Speaks says," this study gives us another environmental factor that may be influencing risk for autism. Again, while these findings are preliminary and the risk was modest it still raises some red flags."
That's because about 20 percent of births in the United States are induced and about 70 percent are augmented. But researchers caution the study doesn't show that these measures actually cause autism - and that more study is needed.