Objective: The goal of this study was to examine differential effects of amount and pattern of prenatal alcohol exposure on child outcome.
Study design: Alcohol use was assessed at each prenatal visit, and IQ and behavior were measured at age 7 years.
Results: After control for confounders, the amount of exposure was unrelated to IQ score and behavior for >500 black 7-year-old children. However, children who were exposed to binge drinking were 1.7 times more likely to have IQ scores in the mentally retarded range and 2.5 times more likely to have clinically significant levels of delinquent behavior.
Conclusion: During prenatal care, clinicians should attend not only to amount but also to the pattern of alcohol intake, because of the elevated risk for cognitive deficits and long-term behavioral abnormality.