Natural Disasters

Pregnant in a Natural Disaster | by Made Safer | Nov, 2021

As someone who has been pregnant, doctors had advised to avoid stressful situations since stress could cause several severe issues for the woman and her baby.

According to the March of Dimes, stress for an extended period can cause high blood pressure and heart disease. This type of high-level stress can cause the chances of a premature or low-weight birth to be increased.

Not only can a stress become heightened during a disaster, but stress can also continue after the disaster.

Carla Van Essendelft and her family’s home was completely destroyed. They had lost everything and nearly lost each other.

Now imagine again, you were pregnant and in a natural disaster. Everything you have owned is gone in a matter of seconds! No house, money, clothes, food, clean water, transportation, and all your personal documents are now missing or destroyed.

For a pregnant woman, this can add more stress and make her emotionally, mentally, and physically vulnerable, especially if there are social and economic variables involved.

The article above examines the vulnerability of pregnant women and states that pregnant women are often an afterthought in emergency preparedness.

Studies have shown that women are more vulnerable than their male counterparts, following a disaster as they have differing physiology which makes them more prone to injuries and trauma.

Additionally, another article provides that the socioeconomic status of the woman may also negatively affect her chances of getting access to healthcare resources.

Sadly, with these variables mentioned, this can prove to have dire consequences for pregnant women and their unborn babies when not included in emergency preparedness.

Pregnant women are amongst other groups such as senior citizens, children, racial or ethnic minorities, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and those with functional and access needs which are “high-risk” or vulnerable populations who are often overlooked.

Including vulnerable populations in emergency preparedness is paramount to ensuring that these groups are provided the right safety information and resources and that they can be reached quickly during a disaster.

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