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(TRENTON) - Assemblywoman Mila Jasey is urging the state Department of Health to take action to ensure that pregnant women affected by Hurricane Sandy get the appropriate treatment they need to avoid any stress-related complications that could potentially affect a baby's health.
To that end, Jasey has introduced a measure (ACR-171) urging the Commissioner of Health to ensure that health care providers and expectant and new parents in the state are made aware of the importance of addressing the immediate and long-term needs of pregnant women and children born of women who were pregnant during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
"Since thousands of children in New Jersey have recently been born or will be born in the coming months to mothers who lived through Sandy and who continue to cope in its aftermath, the immediate and long-term impact on these children is a significant public health concern," said Jasey (D-Essex/Morris). "It's important that public officials in the state make a concerted effort to ensure that health care providers and expectant and new parents in the state are made aware of the importance of addressing the immediate and long-term needs of pregnant women and the children born during and in the aftermath of Sandy."
Jasey noted that research shows that pregnant women are particularly vulnerable during and after natural disasters because they experience stronger and more prolonged releases of stress-related hormones. Prenatal stress is associated with pregnancy complications, premature birth, low birth weight, and increased risk for significant childhood and long-term problems.
Jasey underscored the importance of pregnant women getting the appropriate care because researchers and clinicians believe that some effects of prenatal stress are reversible, and that with the right postnatal environment and support, children may overcome some of the difficulties caused by prenatal stress.
The measure has been referred to the Assembly Women and Children Committee.
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