Researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute made the connection by examining the intake of iron supplements by women before and during pregnancy.
Study author Rebecca J. Schmidt reported, "The association between lower maternal iron intake and increased [Autism Spectrum Disorder] risk was strongest during breastfeeding, after adjustment for folic acid intake."
In particular, Schmidt warned of a five-fold risk increase of having an autistic child if a woman with a low iron intake is aged 35 or older at the time of pregnancy and also diagnosed as either obese or diabetic.
Schmidt says it's too early to give a definitive recommendation since so many pregnant women are iron-poor and even those with high iron have had autistic children.
Nevertheless, she contends it's important to follow doctor's orders about taking vitamins throughout pregnancy and the recommended daily dosage.
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