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Common Obstetrical Procedures And Their Link To Autism

By Jeanne Ohm, DC

Birth today has become a technological experience where a natural process has been replaced with artificial procedures and schedules. Without the necessary vitalistic support during pregnancy, women enter the birth process with fear and are led to rely on drugs instead of their bodies’ own natural strengths. These drugs weaken the body’s ability to function and lead to even further interventions. The more interventions used in pregnancy and birth, the greater the risk of injury to both the mother and baby.

Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed by a collection of symptoms that indicate neurological damage. The greatest causal relationship for neurological damage is oxygen deprivation in the fetus and newborn. This article will examine routine procedures in obstetrics that have significant adverse effects on the baby’s developing neurology. These neurological effects are considered contributing factors to the alarming rise in autism. Here are the most common, routine procedures in pregnancy and birth and the causes for concern.


In more than 30 years of its use, the frequency of this procedure has increased significantly despite warning signs of danger. As early as 1979, studies questioned the use of ultrasound and its potential effects on DNA and growth patterns. In 1987, a published study reported diagnostic levels of ultrasound disrupted myelination. The ultrasound intensities used in this study were consistent with those used for human imaging.

Another study in 1993 concluded that children exposed to ultrasound in utero were twice as likely to develop delayed speech and advised physicians to caution their patients about the vulnerability of the fetus to noxious agents.

The use of ultrasound has dramatically increased in prenatal care. Its safety and efficacy remains highly questionable. Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says, “While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known.”

In 2005, researchers reported, “Obstetric ultrasound should only be done for medical reasons, and exposure should be kept as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) because of the potential for tissue heating. Temperature increases in utero have been shown to cause damage to the developing central nervous system of the fetus.” One year later, a study warned exposure to ultrasound can affect fetal brain development.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Conference states, “Lack of risk has been assumed because no adverse effects have been demonstrated clearly in humans. However, other evidence dictates that a hypothetical risk must be presumed with ultrasound. Likewise, the efficacy of many uses of ultrasound in improving the management and outcome of pregnancy also has been assumed rather than demonstrated, especially its value as a routine screening procedure.”

Research shows populations exposed to ultrasound have a quadrupled perinatal death rate, increased rates of brain damage, nerve cell demylienation, dyslexia, speech delays, epilepsy, and learning difficulties.

Beyond the neurological damage caused by ultrasonic waves, are the implications of the misdiagnosis associated with its use. Early in pregnancy, mothers may be given inaccurate information about fetal development. During pregnancy, mothers are already sensitive about the health of their unborn babies. When told there may be something wrong, their anxiety levels increase, directly affecting a rise in their stress hormone production. Research has determined the release of these hormones in pregnancy will have long-term effects on the infant’s neurological development and behavior. There is no consciousness in the practice of obstetrics concerning the mother’s stress level and its effects on baby development.

Baby’s weight and due dates are sometimes determined by ultrasound and very frequently, mothers are coerced into induction and even C-sections. The literature, however cautions the unreliability of ultrasound for this purpose. How many babies have been neurologically impaired by this careless practice?