Experts caution against labeling certain associations as causal

In February, we reported on the association between low birth weight and subsequent mental health disorders, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. This story takes a look at some of the neurodevelopmental research that has transpired since.

Several other studies in 2019 contributed to a growing body of literature suggesting that fetal exposures of various kinds can have long-term effects on children’s mental health.

In March, a study in JAMA Psychiatry found exposure to infection, including urinary tract infections and more severe infections like influenza or sepsis, in the womb increased children’s subsequent risk for autism and depression.

More recently, Swedish researchers found mothers who had anemia within the first 30 weeks of pregnancy had an increased risk of having children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability, and ADHD.


Image by karelinlestrange from Pixabay

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