Identifying children at risk of developing ADHD at an early stage can significantly contribute to providing appropriate interventions and support from the onset. Thankfully, we now know some risk factors that can increase a child's risk of ADHD.
Recent research suggests that certain factors known at birth, such as maternal drug use, smoking, and pregnancy complications, may help predict the likelihood of ADHD symptoms in the child.
Let's see the key findings from the study.
Factors identified at birth that may increase risk of ADHD
- Parental age: The parents' age at birth was identified as a potential risk factor.
- Exposure to cigarette smoke: Children exposed to cigarette smoke while in the womb were likelier to exhibit ADHD symptoms.
- Maternal urinary tract infections: The presence of urinary tract infections in the mother during pregnancy was associated with a higher risk of childhood ADHD.
- Recreational drug use: The study highlighted that exposure to recreational drugs during pregnancy could contribute to the development of ADHD symptoms.
- Maternal iron levels: Low iron levels in the mother were found to be a potential risk factor for ADHD in children.
- Sex of the baby: The study found that being male was associated with a higher risk of developing ADHD symptoms in childhood.
- Pregnancy complications: Various complications during pregnancy, such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, were linked to an increased likelihood of ADHD.
Why the findings are important
The study is important as the findings are a wake-up call for pregnant moms to take better care of their health and engage in healthier habits. Unhealthy habits like smoking and recreational drug use just might influence the baby's development, it appears.
While birth information alone cannot accurately predict the development of ADHD, it can assist in identifying children who may benefit from additional support, particularly when combined with other factors such as genetics, family history, and the early life environment.
To further enhance confidence in the predictive value of prenatal information, future research will have to focus on following a group of individuals in real time from pregnancy through childhood. By doing so, we can better understand the complex interactions between genetic, environmental, and social factors and refine prediction models for ADHD risk.
Read the full research here.
If you believe you or your child suffers from ADHD, there are treatment options you can use to manage the symptoms. But first, it's necessary to determine if truly what you're experiencing is ADHD, given that many other conditions -- such as depression or even thyroid issues -- can bear similar symptoms with ADHD. At Hope Mental Health, we can help assess your situation to determine the best cause of action. Take the step now towards better mental well-being.