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Mothers having a fever during pregnancy may up baby's risk of autism

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Having a fever during pregnancy appears to be linked to a 34 percent increased risk of autism in children.

It was even higher for women who had a fever during the 2nd trimester; their children had a 40% increased risk of autism. With three or more fevers, the increased risk jumped to more than 300 percent.

Those are the findings of a study of 100,000 mothers and their children by Columbia University researchers. It was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Researchers aren't sure why there is this increased risk, but they surmise it has something to do with the mother's immune system and the baby's key brain development during the second trimester.