The Association between Labor Induction and Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children: A Meta-Analysis

Curr Pediatr Rev. 2021;17(3):238-243. doi: 10.2174/1573396317666210521155111.


Background: It was hypothesized that the oxytocin used during labor could increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ASD.

Objective: This meta-analysis pooled all observational studies to obtain the association between labor induction and the risk of ASD among children. We identified all published studies up to August 2020 by search in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science and gray literature. The pooled odds ratios (OR), relative ratio (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI (were calculated as random effect estimates of association among studies.

Results: The pooled estimates of OR and RR reported a significant association between labor induction and ASD among children, respectively (OR = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.15) and (RR = 1.06, 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.09). The subgroup analyses were performed based on the adjusted form and design of studies. OR in crude and adjusted studies were reported to be 1.25(1.01, 1.49) and 1.08(1.02, 1.14), respectively. A significant association was found in adjusted and crude studies. There is no significant association between labor induction and ASD in case-control studies (OR=1.08, 95% CI = 0.99, 1.17).

Conclusion: The findings showed that labor induction is associated with an increased risk of ASD among children. Therefore, the findings support that clinical use of oxytocin during labor has a significant negative impact on the long-term mental health of children.

Keywords: ASD; autism; labor induction; meta-analysis; pooled odds ratios.; relative ratio.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder* / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Labor, Induced
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders*
  • Observational Studies as Topic
  • Pregnancy