PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Here’s a question for moms: How many times do you feel like you’re all over the place?
Well, there could be a medical reason for your personal chaos, but the good news is there’s an easy and safe fix.
Mya Wade is pregnant and she has ADHD.
“With ADHD comes procrastination, not being motivated to do things, forgetting things, not meeting deadlines,” Wade said. “When my responsibilities increased around motherhood, that’s when I really started to realize that it was getting overwhelming.”
Wade was diagnosed just this past summer.
“Because I’m expecting, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to start a medication that would be safe during pregnancy. Even after, because I plan to breastfeed,” she said.
The CDC says the number of women in their late 20s who filled a prescription for ADHD medicine is up 700 percent since 2000. Among women ages 30 to 34, the numbers are up 560 percent.
This is who obstetricians see.
“A lot of these women have been on these medicines since school, middle school high school, because they’ve become much more widespread, I think the diagnosis is more easily made, and there are some effective treatments. They really do help people who have these problems,” Allegheny Health Network OB/GYN Dr. Paul Weinbaum said.
A local psychiatrist would agree.
“It’s not uncommon for it to persist into adulthood,” Allegheny Health Network Psychiatry’s Dr. Sara Homitsky said. “Commonly in women, they will present with feeling distracted, upset that they can’t follow through on tasks they want to complete. Or making careless mistakes.”
And it’s not uncommon for women to be diagnosed because their children get diagnosed.
“They start to recognize some similar traits in themselves,” Homitsky said.
Whether to use medication during pregnancy is a big decision.
One study showed a small increase in the risk of heart malformations with the stimulant Ritalin.
“What I think’s important is that women who were taking amphetamines, which is another type of stimulant, did not, their infants did not show an increase risk of cardiac malformations,” Homitsky said.
“Just because a person is on an ADHD medicine, and there’s a problem with the baby, by no means does it prove cause and effect. There are so many variables, which is always the problem when we have the lookback studies,” Weinbaum said.
An alternative to medication is therapy to hone organizational skills and reduce stress.
But, some risks off of medication can’t be overlooked.
“Mistakes that put family in danger. Car accidents are higher, as an example,” Homitsky said.
Mya is relieved birth defects are not a pressing concern.
“I knew that I needed to start medication, because everything else that I had done up to this point wasn’t effective,” Ward said. “I was super excited to know that I could kind of start it like right now.”