Critical periods for prenatal alcohol exposure: Evidence from animal and human studies. Coles, Claire. Alcohol Health & Research World. Vol 18(1) 1994, 22-29.

Reviews research findings from studies of humans and animals on the effects of alcohol during critical periods in pregnancy. Results of animal studies suggest that facial malformation results from alcohol exposure during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, specifically during the 1st 2 mo of gestation. In terms of growth, exposure during the 1st 2 mo and the last trimester cause growth retardation, especially in head circumference and brain growth; heavy, early exposure is associated with mental retardation, sensory deficits, and motor problems. Behavioral effects are more difficult to research, however, there is some evidence that early exposure is more damaging than later exposure; some studies revealed damage to the hippocampus and cerebellum caused by 3rd trimester exposure. And although heavy drinking is potentially damaging, cessation of the drinking before birth may have a beneficial effect, even on growth and behavior effected by the earlier drinking.














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