NEW research had shown that children born to females with gestational diabetes and obesity, who experience excessive weight gain during their pregnancy were twice as likely to develop attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to children born to females without gestational diabetes or obesity.
Maternal obesity has previously been identified as a risk factor for ADHD in children, and maternal obesity rates are higher in females with gestational diabetes. To investigate the role of and interplay between gestational obesity and diabetes and the risk of subsequent ADHD development in children born to females with these diagnoses further, a study was performed to evaluate the impact of weight gain in pregnant females with a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and obesity.
Study lead, Verónica Perea, Hospital Universitari Mútua Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues evaluated the medical records of 1,036 children born to females with gestational diabetes between 1991 and 2008. They found that 13% of these children were subsequently diagnosed with ADHD and that the rates of ADHD were higher in those with maternal obesity. Further to this, the team also identified that females with gestational diabetes and obesity who experienced excessive weight gain during pregnancy posed a higher risk for children subsequently developing ADHD.
The association between weight and ADHD was not noted in pregnant females with gestational diabetes and obesity who did not experience excessive weight gain during their pregnancy. This highlights where healthcare professionals can provide crucial lifestyle information and/or interventions to impress the “importance of healthy weight gain in pregnancy,” commented Perea. Excessive weight gain has several implications for both the pregnant person and their child, therefore, helping pregnant females with diet and lifestyle management to prevent excessive weight gain can improve outcomes for both mother and baby.