Geographic and maternal characteristics associated with alcohol use in pregnancy.
A substance use screening instrument was used to determine factors predictive of drinking during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to negative birth outcomes. The participants (n = 4,828) for the study were sampled from pregnant women attending prenatal clinics in Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Clinic sites for the administration of the screening instrument were selected in each state, based on geographic and known population characteristics. Univariate and multivariate statistical procedures were used to determine factors predictive of drinking during pregnancy. Women who drank tended to: be single, be between 21–25 years old, have had fewer children, have had abortions, and be unemployed. Demographic factors that were protective of drinking when pregnant were married and full-time housewife status. Other variables associated with maternal alcohol use were: past sexual abuse, current or past physical abuse, tobacco use, other drug use, lived with substance users, and had mates who were substance users. Other contributing factors for alcohol use included: feeling sad, believing that drinking any amount of alcohol while pregnant was acceptable, had been in treatment, could use treatment now, and were able to hold four or more drinks. Because drinking rates were high and factors correlated with drinking are known, alcohol screening for this population is essential.