Assessing Risk Factors of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Among Saudi Mothers: A Retrospective StudyAuthor(s): Amal I Khalil*, Manar S Almutairi and Mohamed E Ahmed
Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are both lifelong neurological and developmental disorders that affect children at an earlier age. The etiology of both disorders is complex.
Aim: was to assess the risk factors associated with pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum periods among mothers having Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) children retrospectively.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey-retrospective study design was used to recruit 134 Saudi mothers having autistic and ADHD children from 3 settings located at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Three tools were used to collect data which are The Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI), risk factors questionnaires, and demographic characteristics of the participants. Validity, reliability, and piloting of the tools were done and ensured.
Results: Mothers ages range between 23 years and 65 years. The mean of maternal age was 27.6 ± 6.1 SD, mothers gravidity was computed at 3.6, while parity was 0.55. The distribution of mothers according to the diagnosis of their children, 36.6% of mothers had children with ADHD, and 35.1% of them had a diagnosis result of ASD, while 28.3% of mothers had a child diagnosis of ASD with ADHD features. All mothers who stated disabling symptoms when exposed to Gasoline and Paint were found to had ASD with ADHD features, indicating the strong association between these two variables. Allergies reaction was found to be significant with diagnosis results. 60.0% of mothers with disabling symptoms of allergies reaction have had a result of ASD with ADHD features. The association between diagnosis outcome and the risk factors during the postpartum period, gestational weight percentile was significantly associated with the diagnosis result of children. A significant difference between diagnosis outcomes was found based on the women's gravidity, the lowest values of gravity were associated with having ASD+ADHD diagnosis.
Conclusion and implication: The findings concluded that none of the risk factors during labor were correlated with the result of child diagnosis. ASD children with ADHD features had no clear association with the risk factors during pregnancy, delivery, or postnatal period. Lowest gravid numbers are associated with a significantly increased risk of low birth weight, preterm births, and the ADHD children's diagnosis among the study participants. Therefore, careful monitoring, attention to nutritional sufficiency, psychological and emotional support, and avoidance of stressful events for these mothers which may lead to improve the outcomes of their pregnancies, labor, and postpartum.