Health concerns of women and infants in times of natural disasters: lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina

Matern Child Health J. 2007 Jul;11(4):307-11. doi: 10.1007/s10995-007-0177-4. Epub 2007 Jan 26.


Pregnant women and infants have unique health concerns in the aftermath of a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina. Although exact numbers are lacking, we estimate that approximately 56,000 pregnant women and 75,000 infants were directly affected by the hurricane. Disruptions in the supply of clean water for drinking and bathing, inadequate access to safe food, exposure to environmental toxins, interruption of health care, crowded conditions in shelters, and disruption of public health and clinical care infrastructure posed threats to these vulnerable populations. This report cites the example of Hurricane Katrina to focus on the needs of pregnant women and infants during times of natural disasters and provides considerations for those who plan for the response to these events.

MeSH terms

  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Welfare*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Louisiana
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Pregnancy