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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1991 Dec;15(6):905-13.

Prenatal alcohol exposure and preschool physical growth: a longitudinal analysis.

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  • 1Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.


This report examines the effects of fetal alcohol exposure on size and growth in an urban cohort followed prospectively through early childhood. Indices of prenatal drinking were related to measurements of weight, stature (length), and head circumference obtained at birth and during five subsequent in-home assessments. Small but statistically significant relationships were detected between short-term recall estimates of drinking during pregnancy and weight and length at birth. The strength of these relationships diminished during the preschool assessments. However, estimates of catch-up growth associated with alcohol exposure were not statistically significant. With the exception of a single case with a profile of signs characteristic of fetal alcohol syndrome, an adverse effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on head circumference was not indicated.

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