Sweden: Anaemia in early pregnancy is related to increased risk of children’s autism and ADHD

07 November 2019

A cohort study looking at more than 500,000 children and their mothers has linked maternal anaemia early in pregnancy with an increased risk of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and intellectual disability in the child.

The findings, published in JAMA Psychiatry, show the increase in risk is highest for intellectual disability in children born to mothers with anaemia diagnosed before the 31st week of pregnancy.

After considering factors such as income level and maternal age, researchers concluded the risk of autism in children born to mothers with early anaemia was 44% higher compared with children born to non-anaemic mothers, the risk of ADHD was 37% higher and the risk of intellectual disability was 120% higher.

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