According to a study involving 5,000 babies, children are more likely to have behavioural problems if they were born late. The research that was conducted in Rotterdam between 2002 and 2006 found that children who were born more than 2 weeks late (a gestation period of 42 weeks or more) were reported to be significantly more behaviour problems and were twice to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by the age of three.
The researchers reported that it was not possible based solely on the study that gestation period was the only indicator of childhood behaviour problems. The study controlled for factors including family socio-economic status, maternal smoking and alcohol consumption, the relationship between gestation period and childhood behaviour remained, though it was reported that maternal health could not be ruled out as a potential cause of ADHD.
According to statistics more than 28,000 babies were born at 42 or more week’s gestation in England and Wales. Subsequently, the researchers highlighted the need to determine the possible causes of post-term or late births in order to potentially minimise any long-term consequences.
This is not the first study that has examined maternal behaviour or possible conditions during pregnancy that could cause later behaviour problems and symptoms of ADHD. Stress levels during pregnancy, mobile phone radiation and paternal support have all been implicated in the epidemiology of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other childhood behavioural problems.