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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 May;23(5):863-9.

Prenatal alcohol use and offspring size at 10 years of age.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.


The Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project is a longitudinal study of the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other substances. Women were selected from a prenatal clinic and interviewed at the 4th and 7th months of pregnancy. Their offspring were examined at delivery, at 8 and 18 months, and at 3, 6, and 10 years. This report examined 610 offspring, at age 10, who were exposed prenatally to alcohol. Most alcohol use in this low-income cohort was light to moderate, although the entire spectrum of alcohol use is represented. The weight, length, head circumference, and skinfold thickness of the offspring were measured. At each assessment phase, we found a significant association between size and prenatal exposure to alcohol. At age 10, the children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol continued to be significantly smaller in weight, height, head circumference, and skinfold thickness. These results indicate that prenatal alcohol exposure has a long-term impact on offspring growth.

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