Sure, women in the 1950s and 60s smoked and drank throughout their pregnancies, but modern women are better informed about the risks of substance abuse during pregnancy. Pregnant women don’t always heed the doctor’s warnings, says a recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The study compared the instance of smoking, drinking, and drug use during pregnancy across races and ethnicities.
Of the 67,000 people interviewed between 2002 and 2010 for the National Survey Drug Use and Health, 21.8% of pregnant white women ages 15-44 admitted to smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days, compared to 14.2% of black pregnant women and 4.4% of pregnant Hispanic women.
Alcohol use was equally prevalent among black and white women at 12.8% and 12.2% respectively, and only 7.4% of Hispanic women reported drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Admitted illicit drug use was more common among black pregnant women at 7.7%, than white or Hispanic women at 4.4% and 3.1% respectively.
“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a press release. “Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse.”
-Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion, @emarrion_cmn.