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Prenatal Development Project


The Prenatal Development Project explores the relationships among maternal pregnancy variables and psychological, cognitive, social, sexual, and physical outcomes among adults whose mothers received treatments of interest during pregnancy.  One primary aim is to evaluate the developmental effects of prenatal exposure to steroid hormones and psychoactive drugs, particularly synthetic progestin, corticosteroids and barbiturates. Data collection has taken place in Denmark at the Psykologisk Institut, now the Institute of Preventive Medicine, since 1981. The PDP database is unique for its breadth and depth as well as its combination of prospective longitudinal and cross-sectional perspectives.   Specific variables and projects examined:
  • maternal smoking and its relation to adult intelligence
  • breastfeeding and its relationship to adult intelligence measures
  • effect of prenatal phenobarbital use on later intelligence in adult men


Mortensen, E.L., Michaelsen, K.F., Sanders, S.A., & Reinisch, J.M. (2005) A dose-response relationship between maternal smoking during late pregnancy and adult intelligence in male offspring. Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 19 (1): 4-11.

Mortensen, E.L., Michaelson, K. F., Sanders, S.A., & Reinisch, J.M. (2002) The association between duration of breastfeeding and adult intelligence. Journal of the American Medical Association, 287(18): 2365-2371.

Mortensen, E. L., Jensen, H. H., Sanders, S. A., & Reinisch, J. M. (2001) Better psychological functioning and higher social status may largely explain the apparent health benefits of wine: A study of wine and beer drinking in Danish young adults. Archives of Internal Medicine, 161(15): 1844-1848.

Reinisch, J.M., Sanders, S.A., Mortensen, E.L., Rubin, D.B. (1995) In utero exposure to phenobarbital and intelligence deficits in adult men. Journal of the American Medical Association. 274(19):1518-25.

INVESTIGATORS:  Stephanie Sanders, June Reinisch, Erik Lykke-Mortensen


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