Guest Post by Aisha Ali.
When I got pregnant, I had no idea about the speculations, studies and research done regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder. In fact, I had never heard about a condition called Autism Spectrum Disorder. When my child was born, he seemed quite normal. He used to give eye contact, smile, laugh, and respond.
Much later after he was diagnosed with autism, and when I got to know more about autism, I realized that as a baby he did have some signs. He did not crawl; he did not babble or point out.
And as he grew, he developed more signs. He lost eye contact; and he forgot his first words, which he had started to say. Now, he has regained eye contact but still doesn’t utter a word.
I’ve later learned that the signs of autism in babies include an absence of babbling, smiling, pointing to objects, eye contact, and imitating.
According to this region of the world, I must have married late. I got married in my late 20s. According to research studies, parents who get pregnant at more mature ages have a greater risk of having children with autism. Women who are around 40 years of age, in comparison to younger women of ages between 20 and 29, have a 50 percent higher risk.
Pregnancies that are spaced in close intervals have a risk of having children on Autism Spectrum disorder. A child born within 12 months of their siblings are thrice more at risk rather than children born within a gap of three or more years. (Read a related post: Back-to-Back Pregnancies Linked to Autism.)
It has been discovered by researchers that a link between testosterone and autism exist, so high testosterone exposure in the womb increases the risk of Autism disorder.
Some speculations are that Autism is higher among pregnant women who have certain medical conditions, like tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome and Fragile X. In addition, women who are given labor-inducing drugs, like Pitocin, as well as women who have hormonal or immune system changes during pregnancy are more at risk for autism. (I was given Pitocin during my labor.)
Research is going on to determine whether cleaning supplies, hair products and other chemicals which pregnant women are exposed to do have any risk of leading to autism, since some parents report that their children seemed typical up until a certain age. It might also be possible that these children were born with a genetic tendency to ASD, and their autism was triggered by an environmental factor.
I think every woman should know this information, and it is something I wish I had known during my own pregnancy.
Special Thanks for This Guest Post:
Aisha Ali is the mother of this wonderful child diagnosed with Autism. Together, they are struggling through the journey of living with autism in a place where there are no therapies or treatment available. Once, a career woman, now a stay at home mom, Aisha is dedicating all her time to her one and only child. You can read more about her journey on her autism blog – Special Someone with Autism.