How Has the Prevention of Developmental Disabilities at birth been Ignored by the Medical Community for the Last 30 Years?


If we could redo history, if we focused on collecting very specific data at birth, labor practices, induced labor or cesarean delivery, medicine given before, during and after birth, would we have collected more data and research to understand the rising incidence of Developmental Disabilities such as Autism and Cerebral Palsy in children that we might better prevent disability? If we were to begin now to collect very specific data at birth, it would not be too soon to obtain the data necessary for research.

We record the medicine given to the mother during labor and delivery and the moments of birth in an unspecific way, not exact way. How can we do research of the long term effects of medicine on the developing fetal brain, if we do not take the data at birth or only vaguely. There was a large increase in elective obstetric procedures in the 1990’s when Autism began to increase. Are possible causes of Autism being overlooked because we just do not have a complete picture of the very specifics of the medications given at birth?

1. Insurance will only cover so much care and those without insurance may not get the prenatal care to deliver their baby to term. Doctors and hospitals are under constraints from insurance companies for what is expected for normal prenatal care and delivery. There are some questions on the birth certificate as to the source of insurance, but it has to do with low income care. Do we really have a picture of the effect of insurance prescribed care versus best practices of medicine?

2. The 2005 report by the National Vital Statistics stated that the rate for the stimulation of labor increased 59% between 1989 and 1997. Doctors and parents scheduled induced labor or cesarean delivery for convenience rather than medical necessity. This increased several risk factors of delivery for Developmental Disabilities, induction of labor, cesarean delivery and preterm birth/low birth weight. Recent pressure from federal insurance policies and hospitals has begun to limit this practice with the realization that these practices may be putting newbors at risk. (1)

3. What do we know about the medicines used for inducing labor and controlling pain during labor? A woman can be very careful to not use any of the common Teratogens such as over the counter drugs such as aspirin, etc. but when she enters the hospital to deliver her baby she may well be bombarded by some of the most powerful medicines. Where is the research on the long term effects of the medications for inducing labor or delivery pain relief?

There does not appear to be research on the long term effects of medications. Without data collection we cannot support research needed and take the data of birth and development to look at the long term effects to reduce the costs. We need research attention on the long term effects of obstetric procedures and medications given and taken in childbirth!

Where are we collecting data to know the long term affects of labor stimulants, delivery practices on birth outcomes?

If you have information about the prevention of disability, please comment or send us an e-mail.

New Horizons Un-Limited invites you to visit our Report on the Prevention of Disabilities which focuses on the prevention of Developmental Disabilities, and calls for updating the data recorded on the birth certificate.


(1) “History of NCD,” National Council on Disability, <> (23 February 2015).

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