A new Finnish study may have found a link between a baby's birth weight and her future risk of developing autism.
The new study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics
, found that babies born small or prematurely have a greater risk of developing autism as they get older.
The results are based on almost 20 years of data from more than 1 million births in Finland. Researchers took into account the mother's age, if she smoked, number of previous births and other factors, but still found an increased risk of autism in preemies and babies who were very small at birth.
I know what you're thinking. My girls were both teeny peanuts at birth, so my heart dropped into my stomach when I read this headline. But when they say small in this study, they mean really small. Like three pounds small. They found that babies that weighed less than 1,500 grams, or 3.3 pounds, at birth had three times the odds of developing autism.
Why the increased risk? That's another whole study in the making. But hopefully this is a question that they can get to the bottom of soon.