Prenatal alcohol exposure and infant gross motor development: a prospective cohort study

Hutchinson, Delyse, Youssef, George J., McCormack, Clare, Wilson, Judy, Allsop, Steve, Najman, Jake, Elliott, Elizabeth, Burns, Lucinda, Jacobs, Sue, Honan, Ingrid, Rossen, Larissa, Fiedler, Hannah, Teague, Samantha, Ryan, Joanne, Olsson, Craig A., and Mattick, Richard P. (2019) Prenatal alcohol exposure and infant gross motor development: a prospective cohort study. BMC Pediatrics, 19. 149.

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Background: Maternal alcohol consumption in pregnancy may have adverse effects on child gross motor (GM) development. There have been few human studies on this topic, particularly ones examining low exposure. This study examined the association between prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and infant GM development at 12-months of age.

Methods: Participants were 1324 women recruited from antenatal clinics in Sydney and Perth, Australia. Maternal and paternal alcohol use was assessed in pregnancy via interview; offspring GM development was measured at 12-months with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID-III).

Results: Any alcohol use in pregnancy was common: 56.1%, of pregnant women drank early in Trimester one (0–6 weeks), however this reduced to 27.9% on average thereafter and at predominantly low levels. However, infant BSID GM scale scores were not found to differ significantly as a function of PAE in the first 6-weeks (low, moderate, binge or heavy PAE), nor with low PAE across pregnancy.

Conclusions: We found no evidence to suggest that low PAE is associated with measurable impairment in infant GM development at 12-months. Further research is needed to examine potential PAE impacts on GM development in heavier exposure groups and through the childhood years when subtle GM deficits may be more detectable.

Item ID: 73662
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2431
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Project Grant #GNT630517
Date Deposited: 21 Jun 2022 00:51
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520101 Child and adolescent development @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200506 Neonatal and child health @ 100%
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