Factors associated with substance use during pregnancy: Results from a national sample

Jennifer R. Havens, Leigh Ann Simmons, Lisa M. Shannon, Wendy F. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the prevalence and correlates of substance use during pregnancy among women in the United States. Methods: We analyzed data from pregnant (n = 1800) and non-pregnant women (n = 37,527) aged 15-44 years who participated in the 2002 or 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a nationally representative epidemiologic survey. Study variables included demographics, any substance use in the prior 30 days, and possible current psychopathology. Data were analyzed using weighted chi-square and multiple logistic regressions that accounted for the complex survey design. Results: The overall prevalence of any past month substance use during pregnancy was 25.8%; the prevalence rates of past month illicit drug, cigarette and alcohol use were 4.7%, 18.9% and 10%, respectively. Compared to the prevalence of substance use among women in their first trimester, use was significantly lower among women in their second or third trimesters. Women who reported using substances during pregnancy were significantly more likely to meet the criteria for possible current psychopathology and be White. Additionally, women who were employed, married, and in their second or third trimester compared to the first were significantly less likely to have used any substance during pregnancy, adjusting for age, ethnicity and income. Conclusions: Although the prevalence of substance use among pregnant women was significantly lower than non-pregnant women, some groups of women remain vulnerable to continued use, including those who are unemployed, unmarried, and experiencing possible current psychopathology. Prevention and intervention programs aimed at high-risk populations are warranted to reduce the deleterious effects of substance use on pregnancy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Pregnant
  • Psychopathology
  • Substance use
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with substance use during pregnancy: Results from a national sample'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this