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, 19 (11), 2512-22

Birth Outcomes in a Disaster Recovery Environment: New Orleans Women After Katrina

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Birth Outcomes in a Disaster Recovery Environment: New Orleans Women After Katrina

Emily W Harville et al. Matern Child Health J.

Abstract

Objectives: To examine how the recovery following Hurricane Katrina affected pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: 308 New Orleans area pregnant women were interviewed 5-7 years after Hurricane Katrina about their exposure to the disaster (danger, damage, and injury); current disruption; and perceptions of recovery. Birthweight, gestational age, birth length, and head circumference were examined in linear models, and low birthweight (<2500 g) and preterm birth (<37 weeks) in logistic models, with adjustment for confounders.

Results: Associations were found between experiencing damage during Katrina and birthweight (adjusted beta for high exposure = -158 g) and between injury and gestational age (adjusted beta = -0.5 days). Of the indicators of recovery experience, most consistently associated with worsened birth outcomes was worry that another hurricane would hit the region (adjusted beta for birthweight: -112 g, p = 0.08; gestational age: -3.2 days, p = 0.02; birth length: -0.65 cm, p = 0.06).

Conclusions: Natural disaster may have long-term effects on pregnancy outcomes. Alternately, women who are most vulnerable to disaster may be also vulnerable to poor pregnancy outcome.

Keywords: Birthweight; Disaster; Pregnancy.

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