Autism Potentially Linked to Common Labor Drug

epidural birthThere seems to be a lot more to the choice on whether to have an epidural or not. When an epidural is administered, there is an oxytocin deficiency. That feel good hormone that is essentially a natural pain reliever isn't released as it would be if an epidural wasn't given. It makes sense since the epi is a block.

But some new science is suggesting that the block of oxytocin could affect the brains of newborns -- and could be a contributing factor to autism

The French National Institute for Health and Medical Research found that when oxytocin isn't released like it typically would during birth, chloride ions remain really high -- they are high in the womb but drop when a child is born thanks to the oxytocin being a natural diuretic. This high "salt" concentration can lead to brain disorders and autism. 

The research was conducted on mice, and those involved in what they are calling a ground-breaking study see the connection in the way we birth. Scientist Yehezkel Ben-Ari said:

During birth and delivery there is an extremely abrupt loss of chloride triggered by the release of oxytocin during labour. If you block oxytocin during delivery you block this protective mechanism. Chloride levels during delivery are determinants of the occurrence of autism spectrum disorder.

Other evidence supports this as well. There was a study in 2012 where 50 autistic children aged 3 to 11 were given bumentanide, a diuretic drug which reduces chloride ions aka "salt". Their autism symptoms improved during the treatment. 

More from The StirEpidurals Can Make Labor Last Longer

Ben-Ari also spoke of the diuretic given to pregnant mice. "We showed that if you deliver diuretic to the mother before birth and delivery, then the offspring have so to speak been cured… whereas if you block oxytocin, you get autism." He added that it's not as simple as treated mothers with diuretic drugs -- it's not "practical or safe" for everyone. Still, this is a huge development and one they can hopefully study more, learn more, potentially get more answers. 

This isn't to chastise women who have epidurals. I had one. I know many women who have and also have typical children. But what exactly is going on? What are these drugs we take doing to our children? What are the side effects that perhaps haven't been realized? This goes for every drug, taken at any time. 

What do you think of this study? Does it concern you?


Image via george ruiz/Flickr

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miche... micheledo

Doctors are so quick to say something is safe, but EVERYTHING affects our body in some way and has to effect the child to.  Maybe it won't have a negative effect, but this study really shows how much we don't know.

nonmember avatar Jlw1403

Oh what the hell ever. Hippy dippy freaks.

antfa... antfarmer101

At this point, my question is, is there anything that DOESN'T cause autism? I mean, really... According to the experts on the Stir, of course, literally EVERYTHING you do or do not do causes autism.

nonmember avatar LISA

Why in the hell would you continue to scare the ignorant?! Think of all the first time mothers out here reading this that are seriously going to feel like crap of they have to get an epidural or think of all the ones that will have be doped up on morphine and synthetic heroin virtually when they could have just gotten the damn epidural! What's next, are you going to tell these people to not vaccinate their children like they do in third world countries because that causes autism too?? Stfu

Emma Graham

Ok, so explain autistic children who were born without epidurals.

nonmember avatar shandeigh

I call BS. My son is autistic and I didn't have an epidural. STOP TRYING TO BLAME THE MOTHER!!! I'm so sick and tired of them blaming the mom for everything. The Dad contributes to the genetic make up of the child and they never look at them. My brother-in-law has two autistic children... there are none on my side. They need to stop looking so hard at envirnmental causes and focus on the genetic causes. And stop trying to make moms feel more like crap than they already do.

nonmember avatar Very cool

Very interesting information. Hopefully a major step towards eliminating autism that has come from the environment. I believe I "had" undiagnosed autism throughout my childhood. A lot of things that drove me insane that my parents refused to go to a dr for to keep me from being "labeled". After having a child of my own, my mind has stabilized!! I no longer have any major signs/symptoms! Shows be some forms are purely hormonal. And probably genetic.

nonmember avatar Carolyn

How do you explain that I had twins, no epidural and only 1 is Autistic then?? Flawed study. How in the world do you tell if a mouse is Autistic!! I agree that Genetics is more the key.

the4m... the4mutts

This is my opinion on EVERY topic where autism is concerned:

Everything we put into our bodies has an effect on us. During pregnancy it also has an effect on our unborn child. I believe some people are genetically pre-disposed to be sensitive to certain things. And we wont know WHICH things, until we see a reaction. Whether that be an allergic reaction, or deveploing a disorder, or death...

So sure, epidurals may "cause" autism. So may vaccines. Or eating peanut butter. Or smoking. Or birth control. The list goes on and on.

There is no ONE factor where most disorders are concerned. There are many that contribute to the end result. Just be conscious of what you put in your bodies, and your children's bodies.

Example: I have 2 fully immunized children, 1 half immunized, and one only gets HEP shots. Why? My first 2 kids had no reaction to vaccines other than being cranky. My 3rd had a TERRIBLE reaction to MMR, that landed her in a hospital. So we don't get it for her. We also dont get the chicken pox, or flu shots for her, as they are unnessecary, and she could have another bad reaction.

My 4th, only gets his HEP shots. He had reactions to every other vaccine they gave him before age 1. He also has 2 autistic cousins and 1 with downs syndrome. I have no desire to harm my kids. If they show a bad reaction, Im not about to chance it again, and risk them being harmed.

Watch yourself, watch your kids, and be mindful of everything going into them.

the4m... the4mutts

Oh, and yes, I know downs syndrome is NOT caused by vaccines or anything like that. I mentioned it, because of the factor that all developmental disabilities play where our genes are concerned

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