Is Mental Health Status Related To Alcohol Use In Pregnant Women Ages 21-35?




Hartos, Jessica PhD
Friesenhahn, Lindsay B.S.
Ramsey, Jessie B.S.
Sdao, Alee B.S.
Warner, Mackenzie B.S.


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  1. Purpose: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is a major health concern that is entirely preventable. The purpose of this study is to determine whether mental health status during pregnancy is related to alcohol use in pregnant women ages 21-35 years in the general population.
  2. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis used 2016 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for 418 pregnant females ages 21 to 35 in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, and New York. Logistic regression with combined state data was used to assess the relationship between mental health and alcohol use during pregnancy while controlling for tobacco use, educational level, income level, employment status, marital status, ethnicity/race, and age.
  3. Results: Across states, few participants reported any alcohol use (10-12%), about one-third reported having mental health issues in the last thirty days (27-40%), and few reported they were current smokers (0-15%). Adjusted results indicated that alcohol use during pregnancy was highly related to mental health status and tobacco use.
  4. Conclusions: This study found that mental health status was significantly related to alcohol use during pregnancy for women ages 21-35 years. Clinicians in obstetrics and gynecology should expect to find approximately 1 out of 10 women to report any alcohol use during pregnancy and about one-third to have mental health issues in the last 30 days. Since these two factors are problematic and highly related, providers should screen and counsel all pregnant women about alcohol use and mental health at each appointment. Smoking was also found to be highly related to antenatal drinking. At each visit, clinicians should continue to screen and counsel any pregnant patients on smoking cessation. If additional treatment for mental health or substance use is required clinicians should provide additional resources and referrals to psychiatry or substance abuse programs.


Research Appreciation Day Award Winner - 2019 SaferCare Texas, Excellence in Patient Safety Research Award - 3rd Place Poster