Alcohol use during pregnacy

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Behavioral and Brain Functions

BioMed Central

Open Access

Factors predictive of alcohol use during pregnancy in three rural states
Gary R Leonardson*1, Roland Loudenburg2 and Judy Struck3
Address: 1Mountain Plains Research, 55 Rodeo Trail, Dillion, MT 59725, USA, 2Center for Disabilities, Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, P.O. Box 530, Salem, SD 57058, USA and 3Center for Disabilities, Department of Pediatrics, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, 1400 West 22nd Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57374, USA Email: Gary R Leonardson* -; Roland Loudenburg -; Judy Struck - * Corresponding author

Published: 9 February 2007 Behavioral and Brain Functions 2007,3:8 doi:10.1186/1744-9081-3-8

Received: 21 December 2005 Accepted: 9 February 2007

This article is available from: © 2007 Leonardson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permitsunrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Background: A substance use screening instrument was used to determine factors predictive of drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to negative birth outcomes. Methods: The participants (n = 4,828) for the study were sampled from pregnant womenattending prenatal clinics in Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Clinic sites for the administration of the screening instrument were selected in each state, based on geographic and known population characteristics. Univariate and multivariate statistical procedures were used to determine factors predictive of drinking during pregnancy. Results: Women who drank tended to: be single, be between21–25 years old, have had fewer children, have had abortions, and be unemployed. Demographic factors that were protective of drinking when pregnant were married and full-time housewife status. Other variables associated with maternal alcohol use were: past sexual abuse, current or past physical abuse, tobacco use, other drug use, lived with substance users, and had mates who were substance users.Other contributing factors for alcohol use included: feeling sad, believing that drinking any amount of alcohol while pregnant was acceptable, had been in treatment, could use treatment now, and were able to hold four or more drinks. Conclusion: Because drinking rates were high and factors correlated with drinking are known, alcohol screening for this population is essential.

BackgroundAlcohol is the most commonly used teratogen in the western world [1]. Of all the substances (e.g., cocaine, heroin, marijuana, etc.) of abuse, alcohol produces the most serious neurobehavioral effects to the fetus [2]. Prenatal exposure to alcohol is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation in the United States [3]. Additionally, one of the major health objects for Healthy People 2010 is toreduce maternal alcohol use during pregnancy to 6 percent [4]. Screening for alcohol use among pregnant women is becoming increasingly important in view of new studies that show that even low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure can have deleterious impacts on the fetus [5]. Even though approximately 20 percent of the pregnant women
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drink at some point in the pregnancy, maternal drinking can be difficult to measure and detect [5]. It is estimated that about 60 percent of adult American women drink at least occasionally [2]. Most women are light to moderate drinkers who have few problems related to their drinking [2]. In a...
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