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

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Abstract

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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