We all want to know what causes autism…but do we actually know? Approximately one out of every 59 children born have an autism spectrum disorder, with boys being far more likely than girls to be born with this disorder (1 out of every 37 for boys, compared to 1 out of every 151 for girls), but we’re not precisely sure why that is. Additional research has indicated that genetics are highly involved in the majority of cases, and children born to older parents have a much higher risk of having autism than those born to younger parents. But even though we know all these facts, and we clearly understand that early intervention affords a child the best opportunity for a healthy development, delivering them the best benefits across their lifespan, there is no clear understanding for why a child is born on the autism spectrum. (1, 2)
According to a recent study, however, C-Sections might play some role in this mystery. (1)
Do C-Sections Cause Autism?
According to a well-respected, experienced, natural-birth pioneer, Dr. Michel Odent, there is a new theory concerning the rise in autism rates and that is C-sections. One might initially view these two things and consider them to be entirely unrelated. However, when placed under severe scrutiny, a fascinating connection between the two is revealed. Studies have revealed an intriguing relationship between C-sections and autism, namely that children born by a C-section are 21% more likely to develop autism. (1)
It is widely understood that C-sections alter the microbiome in the child. However, something that is far less known and yet suggested through research, clinical observations, and studies is the fact that a disrupted gut flora might trigger autism. An additional study concerning the link between a folate deficiency and autism fully supports this theory, since a folate deficiency has been shown to increase a child’s risk of developing autism due to its tendency to inhibit the detoxification of pesticides. You see, folate has been shown to help the detoxifications of chemicals that are known today to increase autism risks due to their ability to destroy bacteria essential to your gut, making a folate deficiency entirely dangerous. (1, 3, 4, 5)
Odent’s Opinion on Links Between C-Sections and Autism
According to recent research from Odent, “He has interpreted epidemiological studies that show that a high number of children born by caesarean section or induction go on to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in support of his theories.” While Odent is a passionate natural birth doctor, he strongly believes the following three factors could be factors in the rising autism numbers due to their ability to trigger genetic predispositions for autism:
- The use of synthetic oxytocin to induce labor
- Changing environmental conditions of the womb
- The increasing trend of elective C-sections
Ordant’s research, while convincing, is still under clinical observations and requires plenty of additional study. Nevertheless, the facts remain that autism rates are rising and children born of cesarean sections are far more likely to develop autism spectrum disorders than those who are born naturally. This presents a fairly interesting relationship deserving of further investigation.