A new government report shows that pregnant white women have higher rates of smoking than African-American or Hispanic women. The report shows that 21.8% of pregnant white women smoke while the rate was found to be 14.2% among African-American women and 6.5% of Hispanic women.
But this report, prepared by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, does not mention how often and how much these women smoked. Some of the previous studies have shown that smoking during pregnancy is associated with premature birth, birth defects, and/or low birth weight in kids. Smoking may also increase the chances of miscarriage or still birth.
In this report researchers analyzed the data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2010. Moreover, the researchers interviewed more than 67,000 people in U.S. The participants in this survey, pregnant women aged 15 to 44, reported on their history of smoking, alcohol use, and illegal drug use during and before pregnancy. This helped the researchers to evaluate the rate of substance abuse during pregnancy. The follow up period for the survey was around 8 years.
According to the self-report on use of alcohol, Hispanic women had the lowest rate of alcoholic use at 7.4%. The rate was found to be similar among white women (12.2%) and pregnant African-American women (12.8%). Alcohol use during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage and pre-term deliveries. Heavy drinking may lead to fetal alcohol syndrome and may also result in physical and mental problems in babies.
Illegal drug use among pregnant women was found to be the highest among African-American women at 7.7%. This was followed by pregnant white women with 4.4% and the lowest rate was recorded for Hispanic women at 3.1%. Illegal drug use during pregnancy is linked to increased risk of birth defects, pre-term delivery, underweight babies, and still birth.
Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, says that by using alcohol, illicit drugs, and tobacco, pregnant women increases the risk of health problems for themselves and also for the new born babies. “As different races vary in substance abuse, the results of this survey should be used to get the message to all the segments of the community”, says Hyde.