3 Natural Prenatal Strategies to Decrease your Child’s Risk of Developing ADHD – ADHD Tips
“Go ahead and have an extra helping. You are eating for two.” Most expectant mothers will hear this more than once during their pregnancy.
Normally we laugh and joke about it but this glib statement is one hundred percent accurate.
Pregnancy has given you the awesome opportunity of being co-creator of a brand new, beautiful, human being.
You are part architect and part builder, and it is an awe-inspiring task. The future health of your child depends on what you do.
Falling pregnant is one of the greatest joys in life, but once the initial excitement has worn off, then most first time mothers often begin to feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of ensuring the healthy development of their babies.
The vast amounts of information concerning what is best for your baby can be daunting.
With nutrition and lifestyle habits in the spotlight these days and with the alarming increase in childhood conditions like ADHD and childhood obesity, the task of ensuring your choices and your nutritional intake supports the healthy development of your baby is crucial.
The avalanche of information available to you is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand the information may feel overwhelming at times, but on the other, thanks to science and research, never before have we known so much about what is required to support the healthy development of our children.
You have the opportunity to play a direct role in your child’s future mental and physical health and the latest studies and research provide you with the tools to make sure you make the right choices.
One of the disorders that begin before birth is ADHD. According to CDC, 11% of American children have ADHD and that figure is on the rise.
The CDC lists some of the causes of ADHD as alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, premature delivery and low birth weight.
In other words, many of the causative factors of ADHD occur before birth, during the prenatal stage.
Before you feel buried by the tons of information available on healthy prenatal care, here are three strategies that can help you reduce the risk of your child developing ADHD once he or she is born.
Premature Delivery – Go the Distance
Although it may feel like an eternity, in the scheme of a lifetime, forty weeks goes by in the blink of an eye.
Alarmingly, according to a report by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, between ten and twenty percent of all births in the US are performed early with no underlying medical reason. Mothers are therefore choosing to have their babies early.
According to statistics, one in three babies born prematurely suffers from psychiatric disorders, with ADHD being the most common disorder.
Babies born between 23 – 28 weeks have double the risk of developing ADHD, and babies born between 35 and 36 weeks have a thirty percent greater chance of developing ADHD than those who are born between 39-41 weeks.
For most mothers the choice of three weeks of additional discomfort versus of a lifetime of dealing with ADHD should be a no brainer.
Although premature birth is sometimes unavoidable, if you are given a choice as a mother, then choose to go the distance for the sake of your child.
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Lifestyle Habits – It’s a Matter of Choice.
We all know that smoking, alcohol, and drug use can affect your overall health.
The CDC also lists the use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy as a major contributing factor to children who develop ADHD later in life.
Smoking, alcohol, and drug use may be addictions, but they are also choices.
For a pregnant mother, these choices can have a devastating impact on the healthy development of your child.
In terms of ADHD, in an update released by the Current Psychiatric Reports, lifestyle choices like smoking, alcohol, and drug use all increase your child’s risk of developing ADHD.
Most smokers are only able to break the addiction when they have sufficient motivation to do so. As an expectant mother, knowledge is power and knowledge of what smoking does to your baby may provide you with the motivation needed to help you beat your addiction to smoking.
Smoking affects the levels of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen is vital for providing the energy needed to build new cells and tissues and to support healthy brain development.
Without sufficient oxygen, babies are born underweight and are often born prematurely. You are five times more likely to have preterm birth if you smoke ten or more cigarettes a day.
Low oxygen levels are not the only concern with smoking either. Your baby’s development depends on your circulatory system.
Your blood vessels are the transport system that transports the compounds and nutrients required to build a healthy baby.
Now imagine you prepare a cocktail of cyanide, arsenic, lead, and formaldehyde, and then get ready to feed that to your developing baby.
It may be a horrifying thought, but those are only 4 of the estimated 4,000 harmful compounds contained in tobacco smoke.
Each time you smoke, your blood contains that cocktail and you are literally feeding your baby that cocktail.
Each time you smoke your child’s future risk of developing ADHD increases. Make the choice to stop smoking or increase your risk of sentencing your baby to a lifetime of ADHD.
Nutrition – Your Pregnancy Superheroes
As the architect and builder of your baby, you are responsible for ensuring your baby obtains the nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.
The blood stream does not only transport oxygen to your baby, but is also the vital conduit for ensuring your baby has the building-blocks needed to build a healthy body and mind.
Folic acid, or folate, is possibly one of the most important compounds when it comes to your pregnancy.
Folic acid is so important that WebMD calls folic acid the “pregnancy superhero.” Natural sources of folate include lentils, pinto beans, and garbanzo beans.
Although it is possible to obtain daily folate through dietary sources, it is not always practical to include a cup or two of beans in your daily diet, especially if you suffer from the gaseous effects that these foods may produce.
Your baby’s body is comprised of trillions of cells. Each cell contains cellular DNA. Your baby’s DNA depends on your DNA and this is what makes you the true architect of your child, but without certain nutrients, your baby does not have the building blocks needed to build healthy DNA.
Your body, and your child’s body, needs abundant amounts of folate to be able to produce DNA, to repair DNA and to ensure DNA remains healthy. This is one of the reasons why folate deficiencies often result in malformations of the spine and brain.
Your body can’t produce folate and you are therefore entirely dependent on your dietary intake to supply you with sufficient folate. Folate is so important that the majority of cereals these days are fortified with folate.
Since most birth defects occur during the first 3 to 4 weeks of pregnancy, folate intake during this period is essential for ensuring the healthy development of your baby.
Most doctors recommend a folate supplement to ensure you get sufficient folate to support the healthy development of your baby.
Folic Acid Isn’t Only Essential for Your Baby
Folate is so important that the CDC recommends you take a folate supplement not only during pregnancy but also for at least a month before you fall pregnant.
The CDC does not however require you to become psychic in order to divine whether you will fall pregnant or not.
The CDC acknowledges that the majority of pregnancies are unplanned, and the organization recommends that all women between the ages of 15 and 45 consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily.
Your body makes an average of two million new red blood cells every second. Since Folic acid is vital for the production of new red blood cells as well as for supporting DNA production and repair, a good folic acid supplement should actually be a part of everyone’s daily dietary intake.
Folic acid is not only important for DNA and red blood cell production either. Deficiencies in folic acid have been linked to infertility, depression, heart disease, cancer, strokes, cognitive decline, and macular degeneration.
Folate plays a role in supporting the health of your cardiovascular system and is vital for healthy nervous system function.
It is an essential compound in the transmission of signals in the brain and body and is therefore crucial for healthy cognitive function.
The bottom line is that an investment in a good folate supplement is an investment in your and your future child’s overall health and wellbeing.
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