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Effects of prenatal alcohol last into teens: growth deficiencies.

Prenatal exposure to alcohol may limit growth even in adolescence, said Nancy L. Day, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and her associates.

The investigators tracked alcohol consumption of 565 lower-income women during pregnancy and evaluated their children's growth at age 14 years. Alcohol consumption was recorded during each trimester of pregnancy (Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. 26[10]:1584-91, 2002).

At the age 14 assessment, children exposed to alcohol prenatally were smaller in terms of weight, height, head circumference, and triceps skinfold thickness than were the children who were not exposed to alcohol prenatally. Growth deficiencies were detectable with consumption of one-fifth or less of a drink per day.

Exposure to alcohol during the first and second trimesters resulted in significant reductions in weight at age 14, while third-trimester exposure did not appear to have such an effect. Height and head circumference were significantly decreased by alcohol exposure during the first trimester but not during the second or third trimesters. The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure appear to be dose related, Dr. Day and her associates said. Compared with the children of abstaining mothers, 14-year-olds born of light, moderate, and heavy drinkers during the first trimester weighed 2.5, 9.1, and 16 pounds less, respectively. Teens born of women who were light, moderate, and heavy drinkers during the second trimester weighed 9.9, 8.5, and 19 pounds less.
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Title Annotation:Clinical Rounds
Author:Wachter, Kerri
Publication:Clinical Psychiatry News
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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