It’s natural for people to change their behavioral patterns across their lifespans. Many changes happen when we adopt new roles – marriage or parenting – that don’t go well with our previous behaviors. This influences alcohol consumption as well.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to unnecessary risks and long-term consequences such as birth defects and delays. Thus, when women decide to become mothers, it leads to a reduction in alcohol consumption. The study focused on risky drinking during a 17-year-span and how can age influence the amount of consumed alcohol.

Researchers analyzed behaviors of 456 pregnant women (36% White, 64% African-American), ages 13 to 42. They were interviewed about how much alcohol they consume during pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.

Most women were found to have low-risk trajectories of alcohol consumption during the research. However, researchers found one high-risk group: young mothers are much more likely to consume alcohol early in pregnancy, which then continued for up to 14 years postpartum.

Researchers suggest that the study should help physicians educate younger mothers who’re more likely to consume lots of alcohol during pregnancy and postpartum.