Maternal recall of alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana use during pregnancy

Neurotoxicol Teratol. Sep-Oct 1991;13(5):535-40. doi: 10.1016/0892-0362(91)90062-2.


Alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana use during pregnancy was reported antenatally and at 13 months postpartum by 361 black inner city mothers. The two reports were moderately related for all three substances, but levels reported retrospectively were substantially higher. MAST scores did not differ for the two interviews. Most of the correlations of the antenatal and retrospective reports with maternal and infant characteristics were similar in magnitude; those that differed were somewhat stronger for the antenatal measures. Although the retrospective reports may provide a better indication of mean levels of fetal exposure, they may be less precise in rank ordering among individuals for purposes of correlational analysis. Women with higher MAST scores were particularly prone to report higher levels of both alcohol and cocaine when interviewed retrospectively, and more severely depressed mothers were more likely to report higher levels retrospectively for all three substances. These data suggest that women reporting more than 1.3 drinks/week antenatally (AA/day greater than 0.1) may actually be drinking at levels at risk for alcohol-related birth defects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Birth Weight
  • Cocaine*
  • Depression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Marijuana Abuse*
  • Memory*
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology
  • Pregnancy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Substance-Related Disorders*


  • Cocaine