The post-disaster negative health legacy: Pregnancy outcomes in Louisiana after Hurricane Andrew


Disasters and displacement increasingly affect and challenge urban settings. How do pregnant women fare in the aftermath of a major disaster? This paper investigates the effect of pregnancies in disaster situations. The study tests a hypothesis that pregnant women residing in hurricane-prone areas suffer higher health risks. The setting is Louisiana in the Gulf Coast, United States, a state that continually experiences hurricane impacts. The time period for the analysis is three years following the landfall of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. We analysed low birth weight and preterm deliveries before and after landfall, as a whole and by race. Findings support an association between hazards and health of a community and indicate that pregnant women in the affected area, irrespective of race, are more likely to experience preterm deliveries compared to pre-event births. Results suggest there is a negative health legacy impact in Louisiana as a result of hurricane landfall.

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