3 years ago

Associations among maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain and risk of autism in the Han Chinese population

Lu Xiao, Xiaozi Lu, Lijuan Shi, Jingping Zhao, Nan Lian, Huixi Dong, Guanglei Xun, Yidong Shen, Jianjun Ou



Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with an unclear etiology. Pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and gestational weight gain (GWG) have been suggested to play a role in the etiology of autism. The current study explores the associations among maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, GWG and the risk of autism in the Han Chinese population.


Demographic information, a basic medical history and information regarding maternal pre-pregnancy and pregnancy conditions were collected from the parents of 705 Han Chinese children with autism and 2236 unrelated typically developing children. Binary logistic regressions were conducted to calculate the odds ratio (OR) for the relationship among pre-pregnancy BMI, GWG and the occurrence of autism. The interaction between pre-pregnancy BMI and GWG was analyzed by performing stratification analyses using a logistic model.


After adjusting for the children’s gender, parental age and family annual income, excessive GWG was associated with autism risk in the entire sample (OR = 1.327, 95% CI: 1.021–1.725), whereas the relationship between maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and autism was not significant. According to the stratification analyses, excessive GWG increased the risk of autism in overweight/obese mothers (OR = 2.468, 95% CI: 1.102–5.526) but not in underweight or normal weight mothers.


The maternal pre-pregnancy BMI might not be independently associated with autism risk. However, excessive GWG might increase the autism risk of offspring of overweight and obese mothers.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12888-018-1593-2

DOI: 10.1186/s12888-018-1593-2

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