Link Between Gestational Weight Gain, Autism Spectrum Disorder in Offspring Explored

Gestational weight gain linked to autism-related behaviors in children with greater predisposition and with mothers with prepregnancy overweight, obesity
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WEDNESDAY, May 10, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For children with greater predisposition to autism-related behaviors and who have mothers with prepregnancy overweight or obesity, gestational weight gain (GWG) is associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to a study published online April 26 in Obesity.

Marisa A. Patti, from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and colleagues used data from the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) study, including 136 mothers who had a previous child with ASD, and the Health Outcomes and Measures of the Environment (HOME) study, a general population cohort with 253 participants, to assess influences on the association between GWG and ASD. The prevalence and severity of ASD was assessed using the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) in children aged 3 to 8 years.

The researchers found that in the HOME study, GWG z scores and SRS were positively associated in children with more ASD-related traits (higher SRS scores), but not in those with fewer ASD-related traits, among mothers who had overweight or obesity prepregnancy body mass index values. In the EARLI study, similar patterns were seen among mothers with prepregnancy obesity.

"Overall, there was not strong evidence to suggest an association among maternal prepregnancy body mass index or nonstandardized values of GWG and SRS t-scores," the authors write. "Children who exhibit more ASD-related traits and who have mothers with prepregnancy overweight or obesity may be more susceptible to the effects of GWG z scores."

One author was compensated for serving as an expert witness in litigation relating to per- and polyfluorinated substance-contaminated drinking water.

Abstract/Full Text

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