Reproductive Outcomes Following Maternal Exposure to the Events of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, in New York City

Maslow, Carey B.; Caramanica, Kimberly; Li, Jiehui; Stellman, Steven D.; Brackbill, Robert M.

Objectives: To estimate associations between exposure to the events of September 11, 2001, (9/11) and low birth weight (LBW), preterm delivery (PD), and small size for gestational age (SGA).

Methods: We matched birth certificates filed in New York City for singleton births between 9/11 and the end of 2010 to 9/11-related exposure data provided by mothers who were World Trade Center Health Registry enrollees. Generalized estimating equations estimated associations between exposures and LBW, PD, and SGA.

Results:Among 3360 births, 5.8% were LBW, 6.5% were PD, and 9% were SGA. Having incurred at least 2 of 4 exposures, having performed rescue or recovery work, and probable 9/11-related posttraumatic stress disorder 2 to 3 years after 9/11 were associated with PD and LBW during the early study period.

Conclusions: Disasters on the magnitude of 9/11 may exert effects on reproductive outcomes for several years. Women who are pregnant during and after a disaster should be closely monitored for physical and psychological sequelae.

Public Health Implications: In utero and maternal disaster exposure may affect birth outcomes. Researchers studying effects of individual disasters should identify commonalities that may inform postdisaster responses to minimize disaster-related adverse birth outcomes.

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American Journal of Public Health

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September 27, 2016