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Prospective study of children exposed to variable amounts of alcohol in utero.
  1. G Larsson,
  2. A B Bohlin,
  3. R Tunell


    Forty children exposed to variable amounts of alcohol in utero and 40 control children were studied. All mothers had been enrolled in an antenatal programme aiming to identify and reduce alcohol use and abuse during pregnancy. Follow up was at the median age of 22 (18 to 27) months. A significant reduction in intrauterine growth was seen in children born to alcoholic mothers. Three of six children continuously exposed to high amounts of alcohol throughout fetal life showed growth retardation and physical abnormalities characteristic of fetal alcohol exposure, while infants whose mothers had stopped drinking did not suffer these effects. Psychological or behavioural disturbances were found in all but one of 13 children born to alcoholic mothers. The home environment during the first two years did not compensate for the effects of fetal alcohol exposure. Mothers classified as excessive drinkers but not abusers all reduced their alcohol consumption after the first trimester. Their children did not differ from controls with regard to physical development or behaviour but many were retarded in speech and, in addition had a more unstable family background.

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