A recent study from the University of Australia found out that young mothers are more likely to have a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
ADHD is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder which affects a person’s ability to exert age-appropriate self-control.
According to University of Australia Associate Professor Hong Lee, the finding of the study could be a great help in improving women’s reproductive health and in bringing better outcomes for their children.
“Young mums can have it tough, especially as they’re adjusting to becoming a parent while they’re still young themselves,” he added.
Issued in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal, the research examined the genetic relationship between five female reproductive (a woman’s age when she first gave birth, age when she her first sexual intercouse, the age she had her first menstrual period, age she had menopause and the number of live births) and six common psychiatric disorders (ADHD, autism, eating disorders, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia).
The findings show that the genetic risk of ADHD in children had strong correlation with an early maternal age at first birth, especially for women younger than 20.
“The approach is twofold. Firstly, we’re able to inform young women about the high genetic risk of having a child with ADHD if they give birth at a young age,” Lee said.
The researchers believe that this might warn women and prevent them from giving birth at a young age, which not only improves their reproductive health but help them have better maternal environment for their children as well.
“Secondly, we’re able to educate young mothers about the features of ADHD, such as impulsivity and inattentive behaviours, which may help mothers better recognise the condition in their child and seek treatment sooner than later,” Lee added.
The study states that ADHD is highly hereditary, meaning, a young mom might possess the genes affecting ADHD risk which in the end is acquired by her baby.
Although it is treatable, early diagnosis and interventions are necessary to achieve a successful outcome, Lee said.