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Keywords:

  • Growth deficiency;
  • motor disturbances;
  • fetal alcohol syndrome

ABSTRACT. Twenty-one children born 1970-76, selected from 103 children of 30 alcoholic women, were paired to controls matched for sex, age, birth weight and gestational age. The sample (10 girls, 11 boys) was representative of the whole group with regard to weight, length and head circumference at birth. At follow-up (mean age 70 months) the study group was significantly leaner, shorter and had smaller mean head circumference than the control group. The controls had significant catch-up growth from birth to follow-up of weight, height and head circumference to the mean for Swedish children. The study group had no catch-up growth. Compared to controls the study group had significantly lower fine and gross motor age test scores and inferior coordination. One child had cerebral palsy (spastic hemiplegia) and in 6 other children slight tremor and ataxia were observed. Malformations and/or other signs of the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) were found in 10 cases. Study group children with FAS had significantly slower growth of head circumference than others without FAS. Children placed in foster home care (n=11) were found to have significantly (p<0.05) lower birth weight, birth length and head circumference than children raised at home (n=10). There were no significant differences at follow up between study group children raised in foster homes or in homes of their biological mother.