Alcohol Use and Co-Use of Other Substances Among Pregnant Females Aged 12-44 Years - United States, 2015-2018

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020 Aug 7;69(31):1009-1014. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6931a1.


Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, including birth defects, behavioral disorders, and impaired cognitive development (1). Little is known about the co-use of other substances by females who drink during pregnancy. CDC used 2015-2018 data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to estimate the overall and trimester-specific prevalence of self-reported drinking in the past 12 months, current drinking, and binge drinking, overall and by trimester, and the co-use of other substances among pregnant females aged 12-44 years. Past drinking (12 months) was reported by 64.7% of pregnant respondents. Current drinking (at least one drink in the past 30 days) was reported by 19.6% of respondents who were in their first trimester of pregnancy and 4.7% of respondents who were in their second or third trimester. Binge drinking (consuming four or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days) was reported by 10.5% of first trimester respondents and 1.4% of second or third trimester respondents. Overall, 38.2% of pregnant respondents who reported current drinking also reported current use of one or more other substances. The substances used most with alcohol were tobacco and marijuana. Self-reported drinking prevalence was substantially lower among second or third trimester respondents than among first trimester respondents. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends alcohol use and substance use disorders screening for all females seeking obstetric-gynecologic care and counseling patients that there is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy (2).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult