Light drinking in pregnancy and mid-childhood mental health and learning outcomes

Section of Developmental Psychiatry, University of Nottingham, E Floor, South Block, Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK
Archives of Disease in Childhood (Impact Factor: 2.9). 02/2013; 98(2):107-11. DOI: 10.1136/archdischild-2012-302436
Source: PubMed


To investigate whether light drinking in pregnancy is associated with adverse child mental health and academic outcomes.
Using data from the prospective, population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), we investigated the associations between light drinking in pregnancy (<1 glass per week in the first trimester) and child mental health (using both parent and teacher rated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQs)) and academic outcomes based on Key Stage 2 examination results at age 11 years.
11-year-old children from ALSPAC with parent (n=6587) and teacher (n=6393) completed SDQs and data from Key Stage 2 examination results (n=10 558).
39% of women had consumed <1 glass per week and 16% ≥1 glass per week of alcohol during the first trimester (45% abstaining). After adjustment, relative to abstainers, there was no effect of light drinking on teacher-rated SDQ scores or examination results. In girls, although there was a suggestion of worse outcomes (adjusted regression coefficient=0.38; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.74) on the parent-rated total SDQ score in those exposed to light drinking compared to abstainers, no dose-response relationship was evident.
Although the pattern of findings involving parent ratings for girls exposed to light drinking is consistent with earlier findings from this cohort, the overall lack of any adverse effects of light drinking is similar to findings from other recent cohort studies. Light drinking in pregnancy does not appear to be associated with clinically important adverse effects for mental health and academic outcomes at the age of 11 years.

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Available from: Ron Gray, Jan 28, 2014
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    • "First trimester—information about drinking in the first trimester was also collected at 18 weeks gestation using the same frequency/quantity response categories as described above. Based on our previous work, for analyses, the groups consuming ≥1 glasses per week during the first trimester were combined [21]. "
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    • "Where one problem with the observational literature is that only a limited number of variables are controlled for, another reason for the ambiguity in the literature could be attributed to the division of the intake groups. The abstaining group is most often not subdivided on the basis of pre-pregnancy abstinence (Sayal, 2007; Kelly et al., 2009; Rodriguez et al., 2009; Sayal et al., 2013). However, one thorough study did report that the socio-economic profile of mothers in the pregnancyabstaining group was more advantaged than the all-time abstaining group (Kelly et al., 2012). "
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