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Compr Psychiatry. 2006 Jan-Feb;47(1):69-75.

Obstetric complications in individuals diagnosed with autism and in healthy controls.

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Pediatric Psychosomatic Department, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer 52621, Israel.


The aim of the present study was to investigate birth complications in Israeli autistic probands. We interviewed 206 mothers of autistic probands and 152 healthy control mothers with a structured tool encompassing prenatal, perinatal, and neonatal complications. Analysis of obstetric suboptimality, derived by summing all positive items of each of the 3 categories and dividing them by the number of patients analyzed, revealed no prenatal between-group difference. The controls had a somewhat elevated perinatal suboptimality score, whereas the autistic probands had a significantly greater neonatal suboptimality score. These differences in obstetric suboptimality were retained after controlling for the demographic parameters found different between the 2 groups (sex of participants and mothers' years of schooling). Our findings suggest that the presence of nonspecific neonatal factors, rather than the specific influence of individual severe insults, may account for the elevated neonatal suboptimality found in probands diagnosed with autism compared with healthy controls.

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