HealthDay News — Maternal, pregnancy and birth risk factors have been identified among children with stimulant medication-treated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Desiree Silva, MBBS, MPH, from the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues conducted a population-based record linkage case-control study to investigate risk factors by gender for children prescribed stimulant medication for ADHD. The findings were published in Pediatrics.

Records from 12,991 children and adolescents aged <25 years who were diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed stimulant medication and 30,071 control children were linked with maternal, pregnancy and birth information from the Midwives Notification System.

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The researchers found that, regardless of the child’s gender, compared with mothers of children in the control group, those of children with ADHD were significantly more likely to be younger; single; have smoked in pregnancy; have had labor induced; and have experienced threatened preterm labor, preeclampsia, urinary tract infection in pregnancy or early-term delivery. After full adjustment, there was a possible protective effect of oxytocin augmentation in girls.

There was no indication that low birth weight, post-term pregnancy, small for gestational age, fetal distress, and low Apgar scores were risk factors.

“Studies designed to disentangle possible mechanisms, confounders, or moderators of these risk factors are warranted,” the authors write.


  1. Silva D et al. Pediatrics. 2013; doi:10.1542/peds.2013-1434.