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Autism ‘can be result of morning sickness’

The severe form of morning sickness occurs in less than five per cent of pregnancies

Children exposed to severe morning illness during pregnancy have a high risk of autism, a study finds.

According to the study published in the American Journal of Perinatology, women who had hyperemesis gravidarum — a severe form of morning sickness — during pregnancy were 53 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"Awareness of this association may create the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and intervention in children at risk of autism," said the study’s lead author Darios Getahun of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.

The severe form of morning sickness occurs in less than five per cent of pregnancies with affected women experiencing intense nausea and unable to keep down fluids.

This situation, the researchers say, “can lead to dangerous dehydration and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy”. The study reviewed electronic health records of nearly 500,000 pregnant women and their children.