fever during pregnancy is something that is not uncommon, however, a recent study indicates that pregnant women should not take fevers lightly. The study which was published by the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found a possible link between Autism spectrum disorders and fever during pregnancy. Researchers say that expectant women who get a fever especially during the second trimester have a slightly increased risk of giving birth to a child with autism.

The study was published in the Journal Molecular Psychiatry, and it shows that at least three occurrences of fever after 12 weeks of gestation could be linked to a greater risk of a child being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

There have been other studies in the past about fever during pregnancy and autism, however, this recent study was more expansive than the others.

Recurring fever during pregnancy and autism

The recent study looked at 95,754 Norwegian kids who were born between 1999 and 2009. Mothers of 15,701 of these children said they had fevers at some point while they were pregnant. Out of this number, almost 600 children were later diagnosed with autism. The data that researchers used was information gathered during the pregnancies and shortly after the babies were born. The study showed that autism risk increased by at least 300 percent for women who had fever three times or more during their fourth month of pregnancy.

Mady Hornig, the director of Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity said that the study results show that fever is the driving force. Hornig added that fever is the body's way of responding to an infection, and the molecules produced by the pregnant woman's immune system may cross into the baby's neurological system at a critical time.

Will taking medication for fever help?

The study shows that pregnant women who took ibuprofen for fever did not have children with autism spectrum disorder. However, the sample size of these women is so small that authors of the study are not able to draw any specific conclusions about the effects of ibuprofen.

Senior author of the study, W.

Ian Lipkin said that experts should focus on identifying and preventing prenatal infections, as well as inflammatory responses that could contribute to autism spectrum disorder. The researchers said that additional study about inflammation and pregnancy is needed to understand how inflammation is related to autism spectrum disorder.

CBS News quoted Hornig as saying that "the study didn't prove that a fever during pregnancy causes autism, and the majority of children whose moms have a fever during pregnancy will not have autism. "We don't want to be alarmist, but certainly we want to know the best way to manage fever should it occur," she said.