The risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is always present when consuming any amount of alcohol while pregnant, but a new study found that children had an increased risk of hyperactivity and inattention when they reached age 11, if their mother engaged in binge drinking while pregnant, they were also more likely to get lower marks on school exams. Researchers defined binge drinking as having four or more alcoholic beverages in a day on at least one occasion during pregnancy, Medical Daily reports.
More than 4,000 mothers in England and Australia took part in the study. Researchers took note of the participant's lifestyle and social factors while pregnant, including:
- Mental Health
- Alcohol Use
- Tobacco Use
- Marijuana Use
- Use of Other Drugs
Parents and teachers filled out questionnaires about the children’s mental health when the child was 11-years of age. The children’s academic performance was reviewed by the research team. The effects of a mother’s binge drinking were more pronounced in girls, the study found.
“Women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant should be aware of the possible risks associated with episodes of heavier drinking during pregnancy, even if this only occurs on an occasional basis,” lead researcher Professor Kapil Sayal from the University of Nottingham said in a news release. “The consumption of four or more drinks in a day may increase the risk for hyperactivity and inattention problems and lower academic attainment even if daily average levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are low.”
The study is published in European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.