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STUDY: Illness during pregnancy may increase risk of having child with autism

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(CBS) - A new study suggests moms who get sick with the flu or fever while pregnant may have an increased risk of having a child with autism.

The Danish study looked at nearly 97,000 children and found kids had twice the risk of being diagnosed with autism before age 3 if their mom got the flu.

The risk increased three fold if the mother had a fever for more than a week while pregnant.

But, researchers say the overall risk is still very low and caution the results are *very* preliminary and could be due to chance.

The CDC estimates 1 in 88 children in the United States  has  Autism .  The cause of the  developmental disorder  - which affects communication and behavior – is still unclear.
Statistics show boys are more likely to be diagnosed  with autism than girls.

Researchers did not find an increased risk for women who got sinus infections, urinary tract infections  or the common cold.  Doctors say it's important to take every step possible to stay healthy during those nine months.