Babies born through Caesarean section are more likely to develop autism, a new study says.
Academics warn the increasingly popular C-section deliveries heighten the risk of the disorder by 23 per cent.
However, they urge caution on the findings and have stressed more research is needed.
Professor Louise Kenny, one of the authors and a practising obstetrician, said the link between C-sections and children developing Autism Spectrum Disorder also remains unclear.
“Parents should be reassured that the overall risk of a child developing ASD is very small and that Caesarean section is largely a very safe procedure and when medically indicated, it can be lifesaving,” she said.
The study was carried out by University College Cork and was been published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry on Monday.
It reviewed existing findings from studies on C-section and ASD in a number of countries including Australia, the United States, Canada and Sweden.
They also looked for any links between the surgical delivery of a baby and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder.
But there were only two studies to review and their findings were unclear.