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Keywords

Pregnancy, Disaster, Emergency care

 

Authors

  1. Ewing, Bonnie PhD, RN
  2. Buchholtz, Susan EdD, ACNP
  3. Rotanz, Richard MS

Abstract

Disasters are natural or man-made life-altering events that require preplanning to save lives. Pregnant women are a particularly vulnerable population in such events, because they have special physical and psychosocial needs. Preparations made for labor and birth might have to be drastically altered in the event of an emergency, especially if a woman is separated from her familiar healthcare providers and facilities. The issue of breastfeeding also must be considered in disaster planning for pregnant women, along with occurrences such as food shortages and outbreak of illnesses caused by overcrowding of displaced persons. Recent events such as hurricane Katrina have demonstrated that maternal/child nurses need to become more aware of disaster planning and help to empower pregnant women with knowledge of how to handle their special needs in times of crisis.