Associations between ADHD symptoms and maternal and birth outcomes: An exploratory analysis in a multi-country cohort of expectant mothers

ADHD symptoms can adversely impact functioning in a range of domains relevant for maternal well-being and foetal development; however, there has been almost no research examining their impact during pregnancy. We used data (n=1204) from a longitudinal birth cohort study spanning eight countries to address this gap. ADHD symptoms in the third trimester of pregnancy were associated with lower social support from family (b=-0.16, p=.031), friends (b=-0.16, p=.024), and significant others (b=-0.09 p=.001); higher stress (b=0.34, p<.001) and depressive symptoms (b=0.31, p<.001), and increased likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy (b=0.30, p=.009). Significant associations with tobacco use (b=.36, p=.023) and premature birth (b=.35, p=.007) did not survive correction for multiple comparisons and there were no significant associations with alcohol use, low birth weight, or unplanned pregnancy. Results suggest that women with ADHD symptoms could benefit from earlier, more regular screening for mental health difficulties and greater mental health support during pregnancy.