Study authors were surprised that the pregnancy loss rate among those analyzed was the same across the country, not just in the areas affected by the storm.
Adding to the puzzle was the fact that the pregnancy failure rate remained the same pre- and post-Katrina in those counties directly affected by the hurricane.
Study lead author Sangita Jindal said that finding likely stems from other factors. "In the Gulf area, there was already an elevated preterm delivery rate and Katrina didn't affect that," noted Jindal, an assistant professor of obstetrics/gynecology and women's health at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Hartsdale, N.Y. "I'm not sure what causes that compared to the rest of the country, but perhaps there are population disparities."
Wood-Molo and Jindal agreed that infertility patients endure so much stress trying to become pregnant and carry babies to term that the additional stressor of a natural disaster can make them more susceptible to poor outcomes.
"These women may or may not have underlying metabolic or physical issues related to their infertility," Jindal said, "so as a population they may be more sensitive . . . and may not be as robust. So when they get pregnant, it's a little more tenuous."
There's more on infertility treatment at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Sangita K. Jindal, Ph.D., assistant professor, OB/GYN and women's health, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Hartsdale, N.Y.; Mary Wood-Molo, M.D., medical director, Center of Advanced Reproduct
All rights reserved