Page last updated: Aug 2021
Alcohol and tobacco use while breastfeeding and risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADHD


Research has linked prenatal alcohol and tobacco use with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and variably with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Lactational use has been scantly considered.
Researchers at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia examined whether prenatal alcohol and tobacco use may alter ADHD or ASD risk. 5107 infants were recruited in 2004 and assessed longitudinally for the Growing Up in Australia Study. Their analyses did not find any associations between maternal alcohol and tobacco use while breastfeeding and ADHD or ASD diagnosis at ages 6-7 or 10-11 years. They therefore conclude that alcohol and tobacco use during lactation may not increase ADHD or ASD risk. Abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, however, may still be the safest option. Analyses were limited by lack of alcohol timing and retrospective variables that future research should address.
Source: Gibson L, Porter M. Alcohol and Tobacco use While Breastfeeding and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Apr 24:1–12.

doi.org/10.1007/s10803-021-05027-3
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