New research has shown significant differences in the attitudes of white, Hispanic, and black women in the United States when it comes to smoking during pregnancy. A recent study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 21.8% of white women ages 15 to 44 smoked tobacco cigarettes while pregnant, compared with 14.2% of black women and only 6.5% of Hispanic women. When it comes to alcohol, 12.8% of black women drank while pregnant, compared to 12.2% of white women and 7.4% of Hispanic women. Additionally, 7.7% of black women engaged in illicit drug use during pregnancy, compared to 4.4% of white women and 3.1% of Hispanic women.
“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde in an interview conducted for the SAMHSA website. “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.”
There are numerous complications that can arise from tobacco, alcohol, and drug use during pregnancy. Use of these substances can have these effects on the baby:
- Premature birth
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- Low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Placenta defects
According to the SAMHSA website, the agency’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Center for Excellence sponsors a number of state-of-the-art programs developed to address the problem of smoking and substance abuse among pregnant women throughout the country. These programs include:
- Project CHOICES, a program that seeks to provide education and aid to women at risk of engaging in alcohol abuse while pregnant before they become pregnant.
- Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI), a program that helps identify and provide assistance to men and women in need of treatment for substance abuse. The program uses a written assessment of alcohol use and employs a 10-15 minute intervention with women who report drinking alcohol while pregnant.
- Parent-Child Assistance Program (P-CAP), a program that seeks to reduce high risk behaviors in women with substance abuse problems over a three-year period.
States the SAMHSA website, “These programs implement evidence-based interventions and have helped many pregnant women lead healthier lives and improve the outcomes for their children’s health.”
The report, titled Data Spotlight: Substance Use During Pregnancy Varies by Race and Ethnicity, was based on data analyzed from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted between 2002 and 2010. The study is the premier source of statistical information related to substance abuse and its effects, with approximately 67,500 people across the United States, aged 12 and older, participating in the annual survey.
Filed under: Addiction, Life · Tags: abuse among pregnant women, Addiction, alcohol, alcohol and nicotine, effects of substance abuse, fetal alcohol syndrome, high risk behavior, illicit substances, nicotine, smoking cigarettes, Smoking when pregnant, tobacco, Women and substance abuse