The effect of volume and duration of prenatal ethanol exposure on neonatal physical and behavioral development. Smith IE. Coles CD. Lancaster J. Fernhoff PM. Falek A. Neurobehavioral Toxicology & Teratology. 8(4):375-81, 1986 Jul-Aug.
Recent research on the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy
indicate that discontinuing alcohol use mid-pregnancy can prevent or
minimize many of the adverse consequences usually observed in the children
of women who consume alcohol throughout pregnancy. Few studies have
examined the contributions of maternal dose level independent of the
duration of drinking during pregnancy. In this study the effects of
prenatal dose (volume of maternal alcohol use per week during pregnancy)
and duration (exposure throughout pregnancy vs. exposure in the first
and second trimesters only) on newborn physical and behavioral development
were examined. Dependent measures were cluster scores on the Brazelton
Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (BNBAS) at three days, infant birthweight,
length, and head circumference. Subjects were infants of obstetric patients
at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta who were participating in a study
on the effects of alcohol use during pregnancy on infant outcome (n
= 149). Subjects were primarily black and of low socioeconomic status.
Infants of women who continued to drink throughout pregnancy differed
from those of women who did not drink during pregnancy on orientation,
(the ability to attend to environmental stimuli), p less than 0.05,
autonomic regulation, p less than 0.0002, birthweight, p less than 0.04,
length, p less than 0.01, and head circumference, p less than 0.01.
Both prenatal alcohol dose, p less than 0.03, and the duration of alcohol
exposure, p less than 0.03, independently affected autonomic regulation.
A significant interaction was found for birthweight, p less than 0.02,
with independent main effects for both dose and duration of exposure,
p less than 0.01.
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