(HealthDay News) — Children of mothers with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may have an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders, according to research published in Molecular Psychiatry.

The investigators identified 23 748 children with autism spectrum disorders born in Sweden between 1984 and 2007. The researchers then compared them with 208 796 controls.

The researchers found that maternal PCOS increased the odds of autism spectrum disorders in offspring by 59%, after adjustment for confounders (odds ratio [OR]=1.59). The odds of autism spectrum disorders in offspring were further increased among mothers with both PCOS and obesity (OR=2.13). The association between maternal PCOS and autism spectrum disroders did not differ between sexes.

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“It is too early to make specific recommendations to clinicians in terms of care for pregnant women with PCOS, though increased awareness of this relationship might facilitate earlier detection of autism spectrum disorders in children whose mothers have been diagnosed with PCOS,” study author Renee Gardner, Ph.D., of the department of public health sciences at the Karolinska Institute, said in an institute news release.


  1. Kosidou K, Dalman C, Widman L, et al. Maternal polycystic ovary syndrome and the risk of autism spectrum disorders in the offspring: a population-based nationwide study in Sweden. Mol Psychiatry. 2015;doi:10.1038/mp.2015.183.