A study found that overdue babies, those who were born after 42 weeks, were more likely to suffer behavioral problems such as ADHD in early life.
Women should be aware of the risks of prolonging pregnancy, experts report in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The research was carried out in The Netherlands, where until recently it was commonplace for women to choose not to be induced if they were overdue.
A study of more than 5,000 babies found those born after 42 weeks were more likely to develop behavioral problems than those born around their due date, and had more than twice the risk of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
A study found that overdue babies, those who were born after 42 weeks, were more likely to suffer behavioral problems such as ADHD in early life
Lead researcher Dr. Hanan El Marroun from the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Erasmus MC-Sophia in Rotterdam said post-term as well as pre-term births seemed to be associated with long-term health effects.
She said: “Every pregnant woman knows that if the child comes early that’s not good, so why don’t we question the long-term effects of when a child comes too late?”
Complications include a higher risk of stillbirth and difficulties in delivering large babies.
However, a minority of women, dubbed “the 10-month mamas”, believe a baby will come in its own time and avoid medical intervention.
According to US researchers, children who snore, or who have other night-time breathing conditions, are at risk from behavioral problems.
Sleep apnoea and snoring made conditions such as hyperactivity more likely later on, researchers said.
The study, published in the US journal Pediatrics, looked at data on 11,000 children living in the UK.
Lead researcher Dr. Karen Bonuck, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York, said the sleep problems could be harming the developing brain.
One estimate suggests one in 10 children regularly snores and 2% to 4% suffer from sleep apnoea, which means the breathing is obstructed and interrupted during sleep.
Often enlarged tonsils or adenoids are to blame for the conditions.
According to US researchers, children who snore, or who have other night-time breathing conditions, are at risk from behavioral problems
In adults, the result can be severe day-time tiredness, and some studies have hinted that behavioral problems such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder might be linked to the condition in children.
The latest study is sufficiently large to offer a clearer view of this.
Parents were asked to fill in a questionnaire in which both the level of snoring and apnoea were recorded in the first six or seven years of life, and contrasted with their own assessment of the child’s behavior.
Dr. Karen Bonuck said that children with breathing issues during sleep were between 40% and 100% more likely to develop “neurobehavioral problems” by the age of seven.
She believes that the sleep breathing issues could cause behavioral problems in a number of ways – by reducing the supply of oxygen to the brain, interrupting the “restorative processes” of sleep or disrupting the balance of brain chemicals.
She said: “Until now, we really didn’t have strong evidence that sleep-disordered breathing actually preceded problematic behavior such as hyperactivity.
“But this study shows clearly that symptoms do precede behavioral problems and strongly suggests that they are causing these problems.”