Closely Spaced Pregnancies Are Associated With Increased Odds of Autism in California Sibling Births

Columbia University and ISERP-affiliated researchers found that the risk of an autism diagnosis in a second-born child rose more than three-fold when the child was conceived within 12 months of the birth of the first baby, according to a study which was published online Jan. 10 in Pediatrics.The study was conducted by Keely Cheslack-Postava, PhD, MSPH, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars program; and Ka-yuet Liu, DPhil, and Peter S. Bearman, PhD, both of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Center for the Social Sciences.

The findings might be a sign that that something in the uterine environment is changed in the time immediately following pregnancy — women might be deficient in certain nutrients such as folate, for example.There may be other factors contributing to these findings and could be a combination of dynamics, as Cheslack-Postava told MSNBC, “At this point we aren’t able to say from this research that delaying a second pregnancy would have an effect on autism risk."

More than 660,000 pairs of first- and second-born singleton full siblings were identified from all California births that occurred from 1992 to 2002 using birth records, and autism diagnoses were identified by using linked records of the California Department of Developmental Services. The research has been funded through an NIH Pioneer Award.


The following is a sampling of the coverage of this study:

ABCShorter Gap Between Pregnancies Linked to Increased Autism Risk

CNNClosely spaced pregnancies increase autism risk

The Daily Mail UK Autism risk 'trebles' if you conceive again within 12 months

Fox News  Study: Spacing Babies Close Raises Autism Risk

NBC — Autism risk rises in closely spaced pregnancies, study finds

New York Daily NewsAge difference between siblings, not parental age, may indicate higher risk for autism: study

ReutersSibling spacing may be tied to autism risk: study

TimeClosely Spaced Pregnancies May Contribute to Autism

USA Today Study: Autism risk rises in babies born soon after sibling

Wall Street Journal Closely Spaced Pregnancies Linked to Autism Risk

Washington PostPregnancies spaced closely together result in higher autism risk

Posted Jan 25, 2011

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