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Binge drinking while pregnant may increase risk of mental health problems in offspring

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Does a binge pattern of alcohol consumption during the second and third trimesters have an effect on the mental health and cognitive outcomes of the offspring?


8240 women taking part in The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Women with due dates between April 1991 and December 1992 were invited to take part. Only women with children from singleton births who were alive at 1 year of age, and who provided information on alcohol consumption and completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) were included.


Avon, UK; recruitment 1990–1992.

Risk factors:

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy (assessed using postal questionnaires). At 18 weeks’ and 32 weeks’ gestation, mothers were asked about frequency and quantity of drinking during the previous weeks (number of glasses per day). Offspring of women who drank four or more alcoholic drinks a day (binge drinking) at least once in the past 4 weeks were compared with women who had not. Mothers were also asked about their drinking patterns pre-pregnancy and during the first trimester, and about their drinking during the …

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  • Source of funding: Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and University of Bristol.


  • Competing interests: None.