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Prenatal Smoke Exposure Linked To Childhood ADHD — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 18, 2009 at 5:39 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Prenatal Smoke Exposure Linked To Childhood ADHD


In the past, research has shown that smoking during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of a child developing ADHD. When a pregnant mother smokes, it is 2.5 times more likely that her child will develop ADHD.There does not seem to be a link between secondhand smoke exposure and ADHD after birth.

Genetic predisposition

Some children are also more likely to develop ADHD because of their genes. Having certain variations on one or two specific dopamine pathway genes can make it more likely that you will develop ADHD. (Though it's not a guarantee). Stimulant medications, like those used to treat ADHD, increase dopamine production in the brain, which is linked to attention. Smoking also increases dopamine.

The ADHD connection between prenatal smoking and genetic susceptibility

Being exposed to smoke in the womb and having certain gene variations can both increase the likelihood that you will develop ADHD. However, if you have both conditions, if you were exposed to smoke in the womb and you have the genetic predisposition, your chances of developing ADHD increase 9 times. While single factors each can modestly increase a child's chances of developing ADHD, it's the combination of two or more risk factors that really stimulates his or her potential for ADHD.


A child diagnosed with ADHD has 18 possible symptoms. Nine symptoms identify hyperactivity and impulsiveness and the other nine identify attention difficulties. You must have six or more symptoms from both categories to be diagnosed with ADHD. You can also be diagnosed as either hyperactive or inattentive if your symptoms fall into only one category. Children who are genetically predisposed to ADHD and are exposed to smoke in the womb are more at risk for ADHD, which is more severe than hyperactivity or inattention.

Children without ADHD

Those children who were exposed to smoke in the womb or had the genetic variations associated with ADHD where more likely to develop symptoms of ADHD even when they were not diagnosed with the disorder.

Prenatal smoke exposure

Women who smoke are strongly urged to give up smoking while pregnant, and, hopefully, in a permanent capacity. Because, as we all know, smoking is bad for you and everyone around you. But if you can't give up smoking for yourself, do it for your baby. Prenatal smoke exposure has been linked to childhood ADHD. Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of low birth weight and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Smoking during pregnancy is bad for the baby because it constricts the blood vessels leading to the placenta and the baby. It also interferes with the body's absorption of iron and can lead to anemia. If you can, stop smoking before you conceive so the body will be free of nicotine before conception. Smoking while pregnant increases the likelihood that your child will become a smoker later in life. Smoking may also make it hard for you to get pregnant in the first place. [sniplet Synaptol]


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