Despite public health campaigns, a surprising number of women continue to use substances such as tobacco, marijuana and alcohol during pregnancy and their usage rebounds to pre-pregnancy levels within two years of having a baby, according to a new University of Washington study.
Mens patterns of substance use during their partners pregnancies were even bleaker. Men typically are not targeted by these campaigns, and their levels of binge drinking, daily smoking and marijuana use remained fairly stable before, during and after pregnancy, the study showed.
This is important, according to the studys lead authors Jennifer Bailey and Karl Hill, because mens substance use may make it harder for women to stop using while theyre pregnant and may make it more likely that mothers will resume smoking or drinking after their child is born. Bailey and Hill are affiliated with the Social Development Research Group in the UWs School of Social Work.
The months after childbirth are critical for intervening with mothers, said Bailey, who is a UW research scientist. For example, many already have done the hard work of quitting smoking and havent smoked a cigarette in six months or more. We should support that effort so that they can continue as nonsmokers. However, we know if dad is smoking or drinking it is more likely that mom will resume smoking or drinking.
The research is the first comprehensive look at mothers and fathers substance use on a month-by-month basis during a three-year period that included pregnancy. Substance use around pregnancy presents a wide variety of risks to fetuses and infants including fetal alcohol syndrome, cognitive and behavioral problems and impairments, asthma and higher incidences of sudden infant death syndrome.
The study found that:
|Contact: Joel Schwarz|
University of Washington