Substance Abuse Among Pregnant Women Linked to Prior Abortion (ACOG,12/2002)

RESEARCH UNDERSCORES ABORTION'S RISKS TO WOMEN AND LATER CHILDREN Am J Obstet Gynecol 2002;187:1673-8 Previous research has revealed a general association between induced abortion and substance use. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation when substance use is measured specifically during a subsequent pregnancy. Women with a prior history of abortion are twice as likely (2.22) to use alcohol, five times more likely (5.60) to use illicit drugs, and ten times more likely (10.29) to use marijuana during the first pregnancy they carry to term compared to other women delivering their first pregnancies, according to a study published in the newest issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The researchers conclude that higher rates of substance use during the subsequent pregnancies would place the newborn children of these women at higher risk of congenital defects, low birth weight, and death.               The research is based on the National Pregnancy and Health Survey, using a nationally representative sample of 2,613 women who had recently given birth. The survey was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, and the Division of Epidemiological and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse for the purpose of providing the first national assessment of licit and illicit drug use and alcohol consumption among pregnant women.  This is the seventeenth study linking abortion to elevated rates of substance abuse. It is the first study, however, to specifically show that drug and alcohol abuse remain higher during subsequent pregnancies. Reardon, who directs the Elliot Institute and is co-author of the new book, "Forbidden...