Twelve-year follow-up of children exposed to alcohol in utero

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 Jun;42(6):406-11. doi: 10.1017/s0012162200000748.


Eighty-two women who were consuming alcohol while pregnant attended a special clinic at the University Central Hospital, Helsinki with the aim of reducing heavy drinking during pregnancy. The children born to these women were followed up regularly. During their preschool years the children were assessed to have fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal alcohol effects, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, pre- and/or postnatal growth retardation, or they were assessed to have normal cognitive and somatic growth. Of the original children, 70 of 82 could be traced at the age of 12 years. Through semistructured interview and contact with the health and social care authorities, information was gathered about schooling, family structure, whether help had been sought for behavioural difficulties and major adverse events in the family. The longer the intrauterine alcohol exposure and the more severe the diagnosis related to prenatal alcohol exposure, the more often the children required special education, were temporarily or permanently taken into care, and had behavioural problems. There is a considerable need for prolonged multidisciplinary follow-up and support of all children whose mothers have not been able to reduce drinking in early pregnancy, whether or not cognitive disturbances are evident in early childhood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavioral Symptoms / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Counseling
  • Education, Special
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / psychology
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foster Home Care
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Growth Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology*
  • Learning Disabilities / psychology
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Psychology