Neurodevelopmental problems in infants can be associated with maternal weight gain during pregnancy, but the exact relationship is not fully understood. Some studies suggest that excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in the child.
One possibility could be that maternal weight gain during pregnancy may lead to inflammation, which can affect the developing brain of the fetus. Inflammation has been linked to various neurodevelopmental disorders, including ASD and ADHD.
How Are Neurodevelopmental Issues Influenced By Maternal Weight Gain?
Additionally, maternal weight gain during pregnancy can lead to changes in hormone levels, such as insulin, leptin, and adiponectin, which can also affect fetal brain development. For example, insulin resistance in the mother has been associated with altered brain development in the fetus, potentially leading to cognitive and behavioral problems.
It is important to note that the relationship between maternal weight gain during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental problems in infants is complex and may be influenced by other factors, such as genetics, maternal health, and environmental exposures. Further research is needed to fully understand this relationship and to develop effective interventions to mitigate the risks associated with excessive maternal weight gain during pregnancy.
Financially, the repercussions of this can be severe. Hospitalisation costs, maternity care, tests, scans, blood work, etc. can be very expensive. Hence, you can use backups like maternity insurance to help you through such trying times.
A Little On the Possible Neurodevelopmental Issues that Can Affect an Unborn Child
Here’s a little understanding of the neurodevelopmental disorders that could be influenced heavily by maternal weight gain during pregnancy.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is called a “spectrum” disorder because the symptoms and severity can vary widely among individuals.
Common symptoms of autism include difficulty with social interaction, such as making eye contact, initiating and maintaining conversations, and understanding nonverbal cues like facial expressions or body language. Individuals with autism may also have restricted and repetitive behaviors or interests, such as repetitive movements or routines, intense focus on specific topics, or sensitivity to sensory stimuli like noise or light.
Autism is typically diagnosed in early childhood, often between the ages of 2 and 3 years, and is more common in boys than girls. The exact causes of autism are not fully understood, but research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be involved.
There is no known cure for autism, but early intervention and therapy can help improve communication, social skills, and behavior in individuals with autism, leading to better outcomes in the long-term.
Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults and is characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
People with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, following instructions, and completing tasks. They may also struggle with impulsivity, such as interrupting others, speaking out of turn, and engaging in risky behavior. Additionally, they may have trouble sitting still and may fidget, squirm, or constantly move around.
While the exact causes of ADHD are not fully understood, researchers believe it is due to a combination of genetic, neurological, and environmental factors. ADHD is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Treatment may include medication, behavioral therapy, or a combination of both.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is a chronic condition that can cause a range of symptoms that vary in severity and can interfere with a person’s daily life.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are typically divided into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms.
Positive symptoms are those that are added to a person’s normal experiences, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking or speech.
Negative symptoms are those that involve a loss or reduction of normal functioning, such as apathy, lack of emotional expression, and reduced motivation.
Cognitive symptoms include problems with memory, attention, and decision-making.
The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain chemistry factors may be involved.
Treatment for schizophrenia typically involves a combination of antipsychotic medications and psychosocial therapies such as individual therapy, family therapy, and skills training. With appropriate treatment, many people with schizophrenia can manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.
There are a variety of cognitive impairments that a child can be born with. Some common examples include:
- Intellectual disability: Also known as intellectual developmental disorder, this condition is characterized by significant limitations in intellectual functioning (e.g., reasoning, problem-solving, and abstract thinking) as well as deficits in adaptive functioning (e.g., daily living skills). The severity of intellectual disability can range from mild to severe.
- Learning disabilities: These are a group of disorders that can affect a child’s ability to learn, particularly in areas such as reading, writing, and math. Some examples include dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
- Memory impairment: Some children may be born with deficits in memory function, including working memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory.
The End Note
These associations are not always straightforward and there are many factors that can contribute to neurodevelopmental issues in children. However, maintaining a healthy weight before and during pregnancy is important for both the mother’s and child’s health, and can help reduce the risk of these and other potential health issues.
While there are various medical facilities and maternity insurance plans, it is important to know that weight gain during pregnancy comes at a price. Hence, daily habits like exercising, following a healthy diet, meditation, yoga, breath work, etc. can help you handle your pregnancy with great caution and care.