How to Lower the Risk of ADHD and Autism in Newborns

Baby sleeping peacefully.

How to Lower the Risk of ADHD and Autism in Newborns

ADHD and Autism are conditions that affect how the brain functions and processes information. Neither condition has one clear cause, but both are common childhood conditions.


Currently, ADHD is classified as a childhood neurodevelopmental disorder. Most people are diagnosed with ADHD as children, and the condition persists as they become adults. A person with ADHD likely finds it difficult to focus and acts upon impulsive or active behaviors. 


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), on the other hand, is classified as a developmental disability according to the CDC. Sometimes Autism is diagnosed in newborns or young children, but other times it goes undiagnosed until a child is an adolescent, teenager, or young adult. ASD affects how a person’s brain processes information and may impact communication, learning, and social interactions. People with ASD are diverse; some don’t communicate verbally and need day-to-day support while others engage in conversation and live independently. 


Doctors and scientists are continuing to conduct further research and learn more about ADHD and Autism in newborns. 


Causes and Symptoms of ADHD

There is no definite cause for ADHD, though scientists believe genetics are a major contributing factor. Other possible ADHD causal factors may include:


  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain trauma
  • Prenatal alcohol or tobacco use
  • Prenatal toxin exposure 


Like with other health conditions, the health of the mother during pregnancy is a common thread between these factors that contribute to ADHD. 


Causes and Symptoms of Autism

Like with ADHD, there is no single cause of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Instead of clear causes, scientists have identified various risk factors for developing ASD:


  • Family members with ASD
  • Birth complications
  • Known genetic conditions
  • Having children at an older age


Genetic factors currently make up most of these factors, but scientists have identified environmental factors that also may contribute to having a child with ASD. 


Autism symptoms look different in nearly every person with this condition. However, the following signs may indicate Autism in newborns:


  • Not responding to his/her name
  • No facial expressions by 9 months
  • Doesn’t engage with other kids
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Doesn’t play baby games
  • No use of gestures, such as pointing to a favorite toy
  • Lack of recognition of others’ emotions 


As the name suggests, Autism symptoms occur on a spectrum. Some people are diagnosed with ASD as infants, while others aren’t diagnosed until much older. 


How to Prevent ADHD and Autism in Newborns

Scientists are still researching both ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder, but they’re already identified that prenatal health plays a role in ADHD and Autism in newborns. For mothers wanting to lower the risk of ADHD and Autism in their newborns, it’s a good idea to start considering their health preconception. 


1. Get Healthy Before You’re Pregnant

During conception, the sperm and egg combine two sets of genetic information to create a new life. These individual sets of genetic information may result in or contribute to the development of ADHD or Autism in newborns. How do you make sure your genes are going to create a healthy new life?


First, it’s important to understand how your genetics work:


  • All genes are interconnected. They are not isolated systems but work in tandem with each other. 
  • Genes are directly affected by our health. If our bodies are healthy, we can expect our genes to function at their highest level of ability. 


Many future parents experience health issues, engage in poor lifestyle habits, or are exposed to toxic environmental factors that contribute to the quality of their genetic code. 


Functional medicine doctors help patients reverse health issues, improve their lifestyles, and rid their bodies of toxins. To learn more, read more about the importance of preconception health from Clare Cattarin, MSN, FNP, IFM-CP, S-CP.


2. Consider a Prenatal Detox

At Functional Health and Healing, we guide future mothers through a prenatal detoxification process to lower the risk of ADHD and Autism development in newborns. Ideally, this detox process begins at least six months before planning to get pregnant.


Our prenatal detox consists of:


  • Health history analysis
  • Setting health goals
  • Nutritional exam
  • Physical exam
  • Lab tests
  • Customized food plan


Clare Cattarin will help walk you through the detox process and also identify if you’re physically and mentally ready for detoxification. 


3. Heal Your Gut

Doctors refer to your gut microbiome as your “second brain.” It affects your mental health and nutrient absorption and makes up well over half of your immune system—which you transfer to future generations.


Most people have imbalanced or unhealthy gut bacteria, but functional medicine doctors like Clare Cattarin help reverse this through lifestyle changes, nutrition coaching, detoxification, or supplementation. Read more about gut health and working with functional medicine.


Lowering the Risk of ADHD and Autism with Functional Medicine

Clare Cattarin is passionate about giving future generations the best possible start in life. She helps mothers get healthy before getting pregnant through functional medicine detoxification, gut health, nutrition coaching, and more. Click here to take your first steps with Functional Health and Healing. 



Pre-Conception – Functional Health and Healing

Strategene – Genetics – Functional Health and Healing

Gut Health – Functional Health and Healing

Prenatal Detox – Functional Health and Healing

What is ADHD? | CDC

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? | CDC