Mother's diet affects her child's attention

Mother's diet affects her child's attention

What you eat during pregnancy is linked to ADHD


Unhealthy diets during pregnancy increase ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

A Dutch study (J Rijlaarsdam and others, Journ Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2017) looked at whether diets during pregnancy and after birth might help children who have attention problems from an early age. To do that they looked at the diets of 164 mothers when they were 32-week pregnant (approximately 7 months) and the diets of the babies shortly after they were born and compared that to how the children were acting at 7, 10 and 13 years. 

diet in pregnancy could influence  ADHD

They found that children of women who ate an unhealthy diet (an abundance of high sugar and high fat foods) when they were pregnant, often had early symptoms of ADHD that continued into their school years. They also found that the diet was also associated with a chemical change that might influence brain development before birth. 

Other factors can also affect the chemical change, so we can't really  say that unhealthy diets are the sole cause or even a cause of ADHD, but the study does suggest that further research should be done. Fortunately, the authors note that the diet didn't affect any other psychiatric disorders. 

While we are waiting for that research, it might be wise for pregnant women to lower the unhealthy foods noted in the study:

  • Processed food (fried food, meat pies or pastries, chips)
  • Confectionary (chocolate bars, cakes or buns, biscuits, crisps)  

Not a bad idea for all of us to cut down on these foods, really.