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April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to pay close attention to the research related to this growing diagnosis. According to preliminary findings from researchers at the U.S. autism Surveillance program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women who smoke while pregnant may have an increased risk of having a child with high-functioning autism. It is important to note that these findings were preliminary.

This study was published in the April 25th edition of the Environmental Health Perspecives Journal, and it suggested that there might be an association between smoking during pregnancy and some types of autism, including Asperger’s Disorder.The researchers stressed that further study is needed to confirm the results. Recently data from the Center for Disease Control indicates that 1 in 88 children has an autism spectrum disorder.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of women continue to smoke during pregnancy, despite serious health risks to the mother and baby, including respiratory problems, miscarriage, premature delivery, and sudden infant death syndrome. If you are pregnant and smoke, please find support to help you kick the habit. It is best for your baby’s health as well as your own.