The conclusions of this research are important because of 6 to 10% of pregnant women are prescribed antidepressants to treat depression, say researchers who analyzed medical data for about 145,456 pregnancies in the province of Quebec.

Their work appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics. “The various causes of autism remain unclear, but studies have shown that genetics and environment could be risk factors,” said Professor Anick Bérard’s, University of Montreal and the University Hospital St. Justine, lead author of the study.

“Our research has shown that the taking antidepressants, especially those affecting serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of autism in the child, “she adds.

The Dr. Bérard and her team followed 145,456 children from conception to the age of ten, and antidepressants by their pregnant mother, also a student of other factors that can contribute to autism.

Some people are genetically predisposed to and this disorder if they have a family history. The age of the mother and depression are also potentially linked to the development of autism, as some socioeconomic factors such poverty.