According to findings released in JAMA Pediatrics, epidural use during childbirth may not be associated with an increased risk of autism.
The study was conducted by experts at the Stanford University and the University of Manitoba.
Nearly 123,000 children were included in the study, born up to 2016. Health data, including medical records and other personal information of the participants, were accessible.
About 38 percent of the children were exposed to epidural anesthesia right before the time of birth. What researchers uncovered was that only 2 percent of the infants exposed to epidurals had developed autism.
While the autism rate is not significantly high, it is worthy to mention that the findings may indicate a potential slight risk of autism with epidural exposure, but nevertheless, researchers concluded that no strong link between the two was evident.
“Our study has a stronger finding because we accounted for limitations the first study had. An epidural remains a well-established and effective means of providing pain relief during labor, with several benefits associated with it,” said the study’s senior author in a news release.
“We did not find evidence for any genuine link between having an epidural and putting your baby at increased risk of autism spectrum disorder.”