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Neuropediatrics. 1991 May;22(2):59-64.

The psychomotor development during the first year of life of infants exposed to intrauterine alcohol of various duration. Fetal alcohol exposure and development.

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Department of Child Neurology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


The developmental abilities of 80 children exposed to alcohol of various duration in utero were assessed 1 to 3 times during their first year of life. The occurrence of developmental delay increased towards the end of the first year. The longer the exposure the more common and severe was the developmental delay. If alcohol consumption could be reduced by the second trimester only a slight abnormality of motor development was seen at the age of 12 months. If heavy maternal drinking continued throughout the second trimester cognitive development was also delayed. Psychomotor retardation by the age of one year occurred in 38% of children who had been exposed to continuous heavy alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The psychomotor retardation diagnosed at the age of one year could be found earlier in 80% of the children but pure motor or pure cognitive delay only in some cases. The beneficial effect of reducing maternal alcohol consumption before the last trimester of the child's development was clear.

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