The effect of alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy on general intelligence in children
Article first published online: 20 JUN 2012
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 119, Issue 10, pages 1222–1231, September 2012
How to Cite
Kesmodel, U., Eriksen, H.-L. F., Underbjerg, M., Kilburn, T., Støvring, H., Wimberley, T. and Mortensen, E. (2012), The effect of alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy on general intelligence in children. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 119: 1222–1231. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03395.x
- Issue published online: 13 AUG 2012
- Article first published online: 20 JUN 2012
- Accepted 19 April 2012. Published Online 20 June 2012.
- Binge drinking;
- neurodevelopmental effects;
- prenatal exposure;
Please cite this paper as: Kesmodel U, Falgreen Eriksen H, Underbjerg M, Kilburn T, Støvring H, Wimberley T, Mortensen E. The effect of alcohol binge drinking in early pregnancy on general intelligence in children. BJOG 2012;119:1222–1231.
Objective To examine the effects of binge alcohol consumption during early pregnancy, including the number of binge episodes and the timing of binge drinking, on general intelligence in 5-year-old children.
Design Follow-up study.
Setting Neuropsychological testing in four Danish cities 2003–2008.
Population A cohort of 1617 women and their children sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort.
Methods Participants were sampled on the basis of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. At 5 years of age the children were tested with six subtests from the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Revised (WPPSI-R). Parental education, maternal IQ, prenatal maternal smoking, the child’s age at testing, the gender of the child, and tester were considered core confounding factors, whereas the full model also controlled for prenatal maternal average alcohol intake, maternal age, maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), parity, home environment, postnatal parental smoking, health status, and indicators for hearing and vision impairment.
Main outcome measure WPPSI-R.
Results There were no systematic or significant differences in general intelligence between children of mothers reporting binge drinking and children of mothers with no binge episodes, except that binge drinking in gestational weeks 1–2 significantly reduced the risk of low, full-scale IQ (OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.31–0.96) when adjusted for core confounding factors. The results were otherwise not statistically significantly related to the number of binge episodes (with a maximum of 12) and timing of binge drinking.
Conclusions We found no systematic association between binge drinking during early pregnancy and child intelligence. However, binge drinking reduced the risk of low, full-scale IQ in gestational weeks 1–2. This finding may be explained by residual confounding.