- Risk still remains very small
- Doctors encourage procedure when there is a possibility of complications
Given the growing prevalence of birth by Caesarean section (CS) worldwide, it is important to understand any long-term effects CS delivery may have on a child’s development. We assessed the impact of mode of delivery on autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
We conducted a systematic review of the literature in PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO and Web of Science up to 28 February 2014. No publication date, language, location or age restrictions were employed.
Thirteen studies reported an adjusted estimate for CS-ASD, producing a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 1.23 (95% CI: 1.07, 1.40). Two studies reported an adjusted estimate for CS-ADHD, producing a pooled OR of 1.07 (95% CI: 0.86, 1.33).
Delivery by CS is associated with a modest increased odds of ASD, and possibly ADHD, when compared to vaginal delivery. Although the effect may be due to residual confounding, the current and accelerating rate of CS implies that even a small increase in the odds of disorders, such as ASD or ADHD, may have a large impact on the society as a whole. This warrants further investigation.
Sources and more information:
- Research Review: Birth by caesarean section and development of autism spectrum disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12351, 27 OCT 2014.
- Autism ‘23% more likely in babies born by C-section’: Women warned not to be alarmed by findings because risk still remains small, DailyMail, 27 October 2014.
- Caesarean section births ‘increase the risk of autism by 23%’, study finds, Independent, 28 OCTOBER 2014.