Maternal Infection During Pregnancy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Ousseny Zerbo, Yinge Qian, Cathleen Yoshida, Judith K. Grether, Judith A Van de Water, Lisa A. Croen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


We conducted a nested case–control study including 407 cases and 2,075 frequency matched controls to investigate the association between maternal infections during pregnancy and risk of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Cases, controls, and maternal infections were ascertained from Kaiser Permanente Northern California clinical databases. No overall association between diagnoses of any maternal infection during pregnancy and ASD was observed [adjusted odds ratio (ORadj) = 1.15, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 0.92–1.43]. However, women with infections diagnosed during a hospital admission (ORadj = 1.48, 95 % CI 1.07–2.04), particularly bacterial infections (ORadj = 1.58, 95 % CI 1.06–2.37), were at increased risk of delivering a child with ASD. Multiple infections during pregnancy were associated with ASD (ORadj = 1.36, 95 % CI 1.05–1.78).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4015-4025
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Maternal infection
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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