While the academic community has yet to reach a definitive conclusion with respect to what causes ADHD, there is a relative consensus on risk factors for the condition. These factors include genetics, epigenetics, and environment, but medical experts have recently added the length of a pregnancy to the list.
A Dutch study, led by Hanan El Marroun, PhD, of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, examined over 5000 parents and children revealed that post-term infants were approximately “twice as likely to have parent-reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of ADHD.”
Although the study wasn’t able to derive a direct causal relationship, the Rotterdam researchers revealed a statistically significant correlation between children born at or later than 42 weeks and neurodevelopmental delays.
The researchers offered up several potential explanations for the correlation:
First, post-term babies are more likely to be bigger than those born at term and thus have a greater risk of a lack of oxygen around the time of delivery. That lack of oxygen has been associated with behavioral problems.
In addition, insufficient nutrients and oxygen in a post-term placenta could increase the risk of abnormal fetal development, according to the researchers. It also is possible that a hormonal disturbance involved in managing the length of pregnancy could be a factor.
A potential draw back for the study is that data was gathered by self-reporting parents who’s level of awareness might bias their responses. If causality is proven, don’t worry, it is still not a guarantee a diagnosis, and more options are available then ever such as ADHD Treatment. Clearly, this could prove to be extremely helpful in the long run for families everywhere.
El Marroun, Hanan, et al. “Post-term birth and the risk of behavioural and emotional problems in early childhood.” International journal of epidemiology41.3 (2012): 773-781.