Can Weight Gain During Pregnancy Reflect an Underlying Cause of Autism?

A new study from the University of Utah, published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, concludes there may be an association between autism and a small increase in the amount of weight gained during pregnancy.


*This is not suggesting women should limit their weight gain during pregnancy.*


What the study is suggesting is that,


“Weight gain during pregnancy is not the cause of ASD but rather may reflect an underlying process that it shares with autism spectrum disorders, such as abnormal hormone levels or inflammations”[i]


The amount a mother gains during pregnancy may serve as a marker for the gestational etiology of autism. These findings were consistent in two independent study groups. The first group compared 8-year-olds from Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties: 128 children with autism and 10,920 controls.  The second group used 288 Utah children with autism and their typically developing non-autistic siblings. The slight increase of pregnancy weight gain was shown in all cases.


The study was made possible by using the Utah Registry of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and the researchers are looking forward to expanding their study to different states with different populations.

[i] “Medical News Today” Link examined between pregnancy weight gain and autism spectrum disorders. 31 Oct 2013. Web. <>

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