Effects of binge ethanol consumption during early gestation on child neurodevelopment have not been elucidated. To study whether binge drinking affects cognitive abilities and behavior of exposed children, a prospective observational study comparing 51 children exposed to binge drinking during the first trimester of pregnancy to 51 children not exposed to any teratogens was conducted. The children's physical development, intelligence, language abilities and behavior were assessed.
Temperament test results showed that children exposed in utero to maternal binge drinking displayed a greater degree of disinhibited behavior and that this behavior was associated with early drinking variables. Although binge alcohol drinking by non-alcohol-dependent women during the first trimester of pregnancy does not appear to affect intelligence or cognitive and language development of young children, binge drinking in pregnancy does increase the likelihood of certain behavioral characteristics that might predispose these children to later behavioral dysfunction.