New research from UT Austin finds that many teenagers, especially younger teens, may not be getting the message about the risks of using alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy — but that having involved parents and being engaged academically can help.
The study found that nearly 3 in 5 pregnant teens reported having used one or more substances in the previous 12 months. The study also suggests that use of these substances continues during pregnancy for many teens, particularly younger ones. The most commonly used substance is alcohol (16 percent), followed closely by cannabis (14 percent), and finally other illicit drugs (5 percent).
“Mothers’ substance use during pregnancy can have important consequences for the health and development of newborn babies,” said Assistant Professor Christopher Salas-Wright, leader of the study. “Despite efforts to prevent substance use among pregnant teens, our findings suggest that we still have a lot of work to do.”