Findings from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2011-12)

Survey finds ongoing concerns with alcohol use during pregnancy - January 2014

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recently released their Results from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings.

With respect to alcohol use during pregnancy, the survey found:

  • Overall, about 8.5% of pregnant women reported having a drink of alcohol in the past 30 days, and 2.7 % reported binge drinking.
  • 18% of pregnant women age 15 to 44 reported at least some consumption of alcohol during their first trimester; almost 7% reported an episode of binge drinking (five or more drinks within a couple of hours) during their first trimester
  • Alcohol use dropped to around 4% among women in their second and third trimesters
  • Young pregnant girls were at the greatest risk of an alcohol-affected pregnancy, with 13% of pregnant girls between 15 and 17 years of age reporting they drank in the past 30 days. Among pregnant women in the 18-25 and 26-44 age groups, between 7-9% reported some alcohol use, with 2-3% reporting binge drinking.

The findings suggest that most women stop using alcohol once they learn they are pregnant. They also suggest that supporting younger women in avoiding an unplanned pregnancy or in considering stopping or reducing their alcohol use when planning to become pregnant could be another key message in FASD prevention efforts.

Read an interview with researchers Margaret Mattson and Rachel Lipari on the FASD Centre of Excellence website.

For more on alcohol use during pregnancy in the United States, see earlier posts: