Food and Behaviour Research

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14 September 2014 - MNT - Foetal exposure to binge drinking can affect child's mental health and school results

Binge drinking during pregnancy can increase the risk of mental health problems (particularly hyperactivity and inattention) in children aged 11 and can have a negative effect on their school examination results.

This was the case even after a number of other lifestyle and social factors were taken into account, including the mother's own mental health, whether she smoked tobacco, used cannabis or other drugs during the pregnancy, her age, her education, and how many other children she had.

This builds on earlier research on the same children that found a link between binge drinking in pregnancy and their mental health when aged four and seven, suggesting that problems can persist as a child gets older. Other effects, such as on academic performance, may only become apparent later in a child's life.