Autism Risk and Conception
We know that many types of health conditions and developmental issues can be affected during conception. For example, if either partner smokes, it can affect the viability of the fertilized egg, and create a higher risk of miscarriage. There are plenty of other factors, ranging from the mom’s intake of nutrients like Iron and Folic Acid to environmental issues that can affect both pregnancy and your child’s well-being down the road. Now, some researchers are suggesting a link between Autism and conception.
A recent autism study done at UC Davis looked at the birth records of over 7 million babies born in California over two decades. The objective of the study was to look at possible factors in the dramatic rise of autism since 1990. The study shows an increase of as much as 800 percent in the past 20 years, and suggests that this rise isn’t due only to better diagnostics and counting.
The study suggests that there are many factors beyond genetics – such as environmental factors and even the date of conception – that can contribute to a higher risk of autism.
In terms of conception, the study showed a clear link between the time of the year that children were conceived and the possibility that a child will be diagnosed with autism. What they found was that children conceived during the winter months had a higher rate of autism than those conceived during the remainder of the year.
While this is the first study to find this kind of link, it shows that more research needs to be done. The fact of the matter is that autism likely has many contributing factors. How the date of conception might influence autism is a mystery, and one that should be further explored.
Does this mean you should avoid trying to conceive during the winter months? Not necessarily. Again, this data is still new, and researchers can’t say conclusively what might be behind the link, just that it’s statistically significant.