Alcohol consumption during pregnancy and its effects on neurodevelopment: what is known and what remains uncertain

Addiction. 2009 Aug;104(8):1270-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02441.x. Epub 2009 Feb 10.


It has been claimed that mothers' drinking during pregnancy may affect the neurodevelopment of around 1% of all children. If this is true, then prenatal alcohol exposure represents an important risk factor for neurodevelopmental problems, giving rise to a large burden of disability which could be potentially preventable. Evidence to support this idea has come from animal experiments and human observational studies. However, such findings need to be supported by more robust research designs. Because randomized controlled trials in this area are neither feasible nor ethical, suggestions are made for further research making more use of natural experiments.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / prevention & control
  • Child Development
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / etiology*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Mothers
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / epidemiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / prevention & control