Antenatal anaemia linked to autism

Women should be screened for iron deficiency early in pregnancy, researchers say

Maternal anaemia diagnosed before 31 weeks' gestation is associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in offspring, a study shows.

Mother and baby

Swedish researchers have found that anaemia in early pregnancy is linked to double the risk of the child having an intellectual disorder, and also to increased risks of autism and ADHD.

The associations account for potentially confounding socioeconomic, maternal and pregnancy-related factors, the authors say, and were not apparent when anaemia was diagnosed later in the pregnancy.