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Journal Article

Light drinking versus abstinence in pregnancy - behavioural and cognitive outcomes in 7-year-old children: a longitudinal cohort study

Authors

Publication date

Oct 2013

Summary

Objective
To assess whether light drinking in pregnancy is linked to unfavourable developmental outcomes in children.
Design
Prospective population-based cohort.
Setting
UK.
Population
Ten thousand five hundred and thirty-four 7-year-olds.
Methods
Quasi-experimental using propensity score matching (PSM) to compare children born to light (up to 2 units per week) and non-drinkers.
Main outcome measures
Behavioural difficulties rated by parents and teachers; cognitive test scores for reading, maths and spatial skills.
Results
Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression and PSM analyses are presented. For behavioural difficulties, unadjusted estimates for percentage standard deviation (SD) score differences ranged from 2 to 14%. On adjustment for potential confounders, differences were attenuated, with a loss of statistical significance, except for teacher-rated boys' difficulties. For boys, parent-rated behavioural difficulties: unadjusted, −11.5; OLS, −4.3; PSM, −6.8; teacher-rated behavioural difficulties: unadjusted, −13.9; OLS, −9.6; PSM, −10.8. For girls, parent-rated behavioural difficulties: unadjusted, −9.6; OLS, −2.9; PSM, −4.5; teacher-rated behavioural difficulties: unadjusted, −2.4; OLS, 4.9; PSM, 3.9. For cognitive test scores, unadjusted estimates for differences ranged between 12 and 21% of an SD score for reading, maths and spatial skills. After adjustment for potential confounders, estimates were reduced, but remained statistically significantly different for reading and for spatial skills in boys. For boys, reading: unadjusted, 20.9; OLS, 8.3; PSM, 7.3; maths: unadjusted, 14.7; OLS, 5.0; PSM, 6.5; spatial skills: unadjusted, 16.2; OLS, 7.6; PSM, 8.1. For girls, reading: unadjusted, 11.6; OLS, −0.3; PSM, −0.5; maths: unadjusted, 12.9; OLS, 4.3; PSM, 3.9; spatial skills: unadjusted, 16.2; OLS, 7.7; PSM, 6.4.
Conclusion
The findings suggest that light drinking during pregnancy is not linked to developmental problems in mid-childhood. These findings support current UK Department of Health guidelines on drinking during pregnancy.

Published in

BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Volume and page numbers

120 , 1340 -1347

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.12246

ISSN

16

Subjects

Child Development and Childbearing: Fertility

Links

http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/record=b1612150~S5

Notes

Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*

#521379


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