Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 41, Issue 5, pp 618–627

Maternal Early Life Factors Associated with Hormone Levels and the Risk of Having a Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Nurses Health Study II

Authors

  • Kristen Lyall
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
  • David L. Pauls
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
    • Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School
    • The Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, Center for Human Genetic ResearchMassachusetts General Hospital
  • Susan Santangelo
    • Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public Health
    • Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical School
    • The Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, Center for Human Genetic ResearchMassachusetts General Hospital
  • Donna Spiegelman
    • Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
    • Departments of Epidemiology and NutritionHarvard School of Public Health
    • Channing Laboratory, Department of MedicineThe Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-010-1079-7

Cite this article as:
Lyall, K., Pauls, D.L., Santangelo, S. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2011) 41: 618. doi:10.1007/s10803-010-1079-7

Abstract

It is not known whether reproductive factors early in the mother’s life influence risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). We assessed maternal age at menarche, menstrual cycle characteristics during adolescence, oral contraceptive use prior to first birth, body shape, and body mass index (BMI) in association with ASD using binomial regression in a cohort study of 61,596 women, including 743 cases. Overall, early life factors were not associated with ASD, though early age at menarche (RR for age 10 or less = 1.54, 95% CI 1.18, 2.02, p = 0.0002) and BMI at age 18 of ≥30 (RR 2.03, 95% CI 1.34, 3.08, p = 0.0008) were significantly associated with increased risk of ASD. Further work should investigate the potential influence of these factors.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disordersReproductive risk factorsHormonal factors

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010