Adverse infant outcomes often rise in the aftermath of disaster, but few studies have assessed the effects of disaster on maternal health. 1091 southern Louisiana women were interviewed about their pregnancy history, including pregnancy complications. Associations between oil spill exposures and gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, and nausea/vomiting were assessed for all reported pregnancies. 631 women had a pregnancy both before and after the oil spill. Generalized estimating equations (logistic regression) with adjustment for confounders were used. To assess possible unmeasured confounding, instead of considering oil spill exposure as a time-varying exposure, women were defined as oil spill-exposed or not. If oil spill-exposed women were equally prone to complications in pregnancies that occurred prior to the oil spill as after it, it was considered that any associations were likely due to selection or reporting issues. Women who reported oil spill exposure, particularly loss of use of the coast, were more likely to report gestational diabetes; however, the level of association was similar for pregnancies before and after the spill (p for interaction >0.10 and odds ratios (ORs) for pregnancies prior to the spill > than those after the spill). No associations were found between oil spill exposure and hypertensive disorders. This analysis does not suggest an increased risk of pregnancy complications associated with exposure to the oil spill; however, future studies should assess exposure and outcomes prospectively and clinically instead of relying on self-report.
Keywords: diabetes; gestational; hypertension; nausea; oil spill; pregnancy-induced.