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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

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Understanding Autism -- Prevention

How Can I Prevent Autism?

Although the cause of autism is not known, many researchers believe genetics is responsible for 90% of the risk of a child developing autism. Rare cases may be caused by chemical exposure and other agents that can cause birth defects. 

To reduce the risk of having a child with an autistic disorder:

Understanding Autism

  • Have regular check-ups, eat healthy, exercise and take all recommended vitamins and supplements when you are pregnant.
  • Do not take drugs during pregnancy unless your doctor approves; this is particularly true for some antiseizure medications. 
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages of any kind while you are pregnant.
  • If you've been diagnosed with PKU or celiac disease, get treatment.
  • Getting immunized against German measles (rubella) before pregnancy can prevent rubella-associated autism.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Patricia Quinn, MD on March 09, 2014

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