Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Linked to Behavior Problems in
FRIDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Teens whose mothers drank
alcohol regularly throughout the first trimester of pregnancy have
a threefold increased risk of developing severe behavior problems,
a new study warns.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
and Medical Center analyzed data collected from 592 children and
their mothers. The mothers were evaluated when four and seven
months pregnant and shortly after childbirth and then, along with
their children, when the children were 8 months old, 18 months old
and 3, 6, 10, 14 and 16 years old.
The quantity, frequency and patterns of alcohol use -- including
beer, wine and liquor -- by the women during pregnancy were
summarized as average daily alcohol consumption.
When the children were 16 years old, those whose mothers had
consumed, on average, one or more alcoholic drinks a day in the
first trimester of pregnancy were three times more likely to meet
the criteria for conduct disorder than were teens whose mothers had
consumed less than one drink a day or no alcohol at all, the
Conduct disorder refers to a pattern of serious behavior
problems that last for more than a year and includes, according to
the researchers, such things as property destruction, aggression
toward people and animals, dishonesty or theft, and serious rule
The study is published in the March issue of the
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
"From a clinical perspective, prenatal alcohol exposure should be considered as another risk for conduct disorder. The next steps in research should be to define the interactions between prenatal exposures, environmental factors and heritability. This would allow a more complete picture of the relations between prenatal alcohol exposure and conduct disorder," concluded Cynthia A. Larkby, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues.
The March of Dimes has more about the dangers of drinking
alcohol during pregnancy.
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