Is Autism Risk Avoidable? Pregnancy Precautions That Can Help

Pregnancy is a delicate phase for a woman and her baby. Everything you do as a would-be mom can impact the health of your baby. In fact, you may even pass on some risks to the little one, regardless of the good intentions you have as a mom. The scary part is that your baby may suffer from birth defects due to chemical exposure.

Autism is among the significant concerns for pregnant women because it develops from a combination of factors. While it is predominantly genetic, some prenatal exposures may sway the odds. It means you and your baby are at a dual risk. That sounds scary, right? But there is hope because several research studies have looked for solutions to address the risk.

Early research suggests that brain scans of unborn babies may reveal the risk of developing autism later in life. Does it also mean you can do something to lower the risk? To some extent, yes! You can limit your exposure to environmental factors linked with ASD. Let us share a checklist of pregnancy precautions that may help.

Skip Unnecessary Medications

Is there something like the risk of unnecessary medication during pregnancy? Yes, some medications you take during pregnancy can elevate the risk of autism for your baby. Over-the-counter painkillers like Tylenol are among the top culprits.

Antidepressants such as SSRIs also elevate the danger. Your doctor must weigh the risks and benefits of medications before prescribing them. However, the use of OTC drugs and painkillers is your judgment.

Beware of Tylenol

Tylenol gets a special mention in this context because the recent slew of Tylenol lawsuits is leading to growing awareness regarding its potential threat to pregnant women. A Tylenol Lawsuit entails legal action against manufacturers and distributors by women who used the medication during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with autism or ADHD.

You can check the TorHoerman Law website for information regarding a Tylenol autism lawsuit if you plan to file one. Although using the medication might have led to developmental delays in your child, there are several other things to establish the connection for a valid lawsuit. You can use a free consultation or use the chatbot on the site to check if you qualify for Tylenol compensation.

Reduce Exposure to Toxins

Surprisingly, exposure to toxins can contribute to fetal autism risk during pregnancy. Multiple studies have established the connection with airborne pollutants, specifically for women facing high levels of pollution in the third trimester.

Since there are hundreds of potential pollutants and you may not be sure about the real culprits, protecting yourself from air pollution is your best bet. Additionally, ensure clean water and organic food in your daily diet because you may get loads of toxins from these sources.

Pregnant women should also avoid household chemicals like cleaners, flame-retardants, paints, cosmetics, and personal care products. Read the labels carefully and ditch anything with fragrance and too many chemicals.

Load up on Iron and Folic Acid

Avoiding OTC medications, pollutants, and toxins gives you a good start with lowering the risk of autism in your unborn baby. But you can also load up on some food sources and supplements to overcome the threat.  

Studies show that iron deficiency can affect fetal brain development, so would-be moms should begin a supplement regimen while planning pregnancy. Foods like eggs, meats, seafood, and iron-fortified bread and cereal are also helpful.

Folic acid is another vital nutrient for pregnant moms and their babies. Your doctor will recommend it three months before conception. In fact, all women of childbearing age should take folic acid for food and supplement every day. Besides lowering the risk of autism, it can also prevent birth defects like spina bifida.

Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle

Maternal health is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy, and it limits complications for the baby, including the risk of developing autism. For example, excess pregnancy pounds may affect hormonal balance and fetal brain development, so you must maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. The good thing about watching your weight is that it also prevents complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Ensure other healthy-lifestyle basics such as staying active, getting enough sleep and rest, and keeping stress at bay. Ditch the culprits like sugar, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs. While these factors may not directly lower the chances of fetal autism, they do boost your well-being. Overall, it keeps complications at bay.

The Takeaway

Autism risk during pregnancy is real, but it may be avoidable to some extent. Of course, you cannot change the genetic factors, but you can definitely do your bit to manage the environmental ones. Follow this checklist to give your best to your baby and experience the joy of parenting a healthy child!

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