by Cassandra R. Elias
Pregnant women continue smoking during pregnancy at alarming rates, according to a study released last Wednesday, May 9, 2012.
Almost 22 percent of pregnant white women ages 15 to 44 smoked cigarettes within the prior 30 days, compared to just over 14 percent of pregnant black women and 6.5 percent of hispanic women.
However, the rate of illicit drug use during pregnancy was higher among black women, 7.7 percent compared to white women at 4.4 percent and hispanic women coming in at 3 percent.
The study was undertaken by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Study.
Alcohol use during pregnancy was approximately the same for black and white women (about 12 percent), but much higher among hispanic women (7.4 percent), according to the study.
The findings were based on data analysis from the administration's 2002 to 2010 national surveys on drug use and health.
Pamela Hyde, administrator at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services said in a government news release, "When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies. 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."
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Centre for Excellence sponsors programs to help women during their pregnancy to change their lifestyles and improve their children's health. The programs include screening and brief intervention, providing help for women at risk of having an alcohol-exposed pregnancy, and parent-child assistance which includes home visitations over a three-year period.
What do you think about these findings? Does it surprise you? Did you smoke during your pregnancy?