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J Holist Nurs. 2010 Jun;28(2):123-32; quiz 133-5. doi: 10.1177/0898010109348388. Epub 2010 Jun 3.

Post-Katrina perinatal mood and the use of alternative therapies.

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Metropolitan New Orleans Center, School of Nursing, at Our Lady of the Lake College, New Orleans, LA, USA.



The purpose of this cross-sectional, exploratory study is to describe perinatal moods and complementary alternative therapy (CAT) use among childbearing women living in New Orleans, post-Hurricane Katrina. How women coped with the disaster with limited access to mental health services was not known.


A convenience sample of 199 postpartal/expectant mothers completed two questionnaires. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale measured risk for perinatal depression (>10 for depression risk) and the Perinatal Alternative Therapy Index (PATI) obtained subjects' self-perceived overall scores for anxiety and overall mood, frequency and type of use of alternative therapies, and health behaviors. Open-ended questions solicited qualitative data.


The mean EPDS score was 8.47, yet 37% of the postpartum subjects had scores >or=10, indicating risk for depression, while 25% of the women in the prenatal group had scores >or=10. Ninety-five percent of women reported using CATs to improve their mood during pregnancy. Two themes emerged from the qualitative data: (a) Distress and Instability: The Katrina Effect and (b) Life Transitions.


Post-Katrina, most women were proactive in seeking ways to improve their mood. Knowing that there are effective, alternative therapies to improve mood during the perinatal period, nurses and other care providers can offer more information about these nonmedical, accessible interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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