Prenatal alcohol exposure and signs of minor neurological dysfunction at preschool age

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 Aug;42(8):508-14. doi: 10.1017/s0012162200000979.


High levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy affect the development of the baby's central nervous system. Pregnant women were interviewed about their alcohol consumption during pregnancy, when they first visited the maternity hospital in Roubaix, France. Of the 698 women interviewed, 156 of their children were investigated at the age of 4 1/2 years with a standardised examination to assess the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on neurological status. Two scores were calculated: a posture score, which measured items while the child was standing; and a minor neurological signs score. The posture score was not related to prenatal alcohol exposure. Consumption of 21 drinks/week (3 drinks/day) or more during pregnancy was significantly associated with a higher number of minor neurological signs, after controlling for relevant covariables. Although prenatal alcohol exposure was related to a lower General Cognitive Index (GCI), minor neurological signs were associated with prenatal alcohol exposure after controlling for GCI.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Posture
  • Pregnancy