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Cohort study
Alcohol consumption in early and late pregnancy is associated with poor child reading and writing ability at 8–9 years of age
  1. Beth Bailey
  1. Department of Family Medicine, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Dr Beth Bailey, Department of Family Medicine, East Tennessee State University, P.O. Box 70621, Johnson City, TN 37614, USA; nordstro{at}

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Commentary on: OpenUrlAbstract/FREE Full Text

Implications for practice and research

  • Women should be counselled that no amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy can be considered safe, and heavy and binge drinking specifically can negatively impact child learning and school achievement.

  • Further research in other populations and addressing the limitations of this study is needed.


Nearly 1 in 10 children may be exposed prenatally to some level of alcohol. Forty years of research has demonstrated a link between prenatal alcohol exposure and a range of developmental problems in children, many of which impact academic achievement. Recent research has found that heavy drinking in early and late pregnancy, as well as binge pattern drinking throughout pregnancy, is associated with deficits in specific academic skills …

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  • Competing interests None.