Posts Tagged ‘tsunami’

Staying safe in a disaster

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Our thoughts and concerns today are with all those facing the ravages of the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami in the Pacific. We hope you and your family are safe. In this very difficult time, it is important to focus on the unique needs of pregnant women and women with newborns. Having an action plan can help.

You need to follow any evacuation and preparation instructions given by your state, but here are some special things to consider. If you need to evacuate your area because of a disaster emergency:
• Bring any medications you are currently taking, including your prenatal vitamins and your prescriptions.
• Keep a copy of your prenatal medical records with you and contact information for your health care provider in case you need to visit another provider.
• If you are driving, stop to get out and walk every 1 to 2 hours. Keep blankets in your car.
• Wear comfortable shoes – you may be on your feet a lot.
• Pack some snacks and bottled water.
• Pack pacifiers, diapers, blankets, extra clothes for your baby
Remember that maternity clothes may not be available if you evacuate. Pack extra clothes for yourself, including undergarments.

Once you’ve made it through a disaster emergency and are safe, you’ll want to take steps to ensure you stay healthy. For example, if your health care provider’s office is closed or if you had to evacuate, call a local hospital or health department to get information about prenatal care and local hospitals.

Breastmilk is the best food for a baby during the first year of life. In emergencies, it’s usually best for the baby if the mother can continue to breastfeed. If pre-prepared formula is unavailable or water supplies are unsafe, breastfeeding is especially wise. Breastmilk can be especially good for premature babies.

If breastfeeding is not possible, have a supply of single-serving, ready-to-feed formula. Ready-to-feed formula does not need mixing, and water should not be added to it. When using ready-to-feed formula, pour the needed amount into a bottle, and throw away the formula that the baby does not drink if you cannot refrigerate it. After it is opened, the formula must be refrigerated.

This link will take you to information about: finding ways to eat healthy, finding safe water for drinking, cooking and bathing; watching for signs of preterm labor if you are pregnant; finding ways to get some physical relief when you can; ways of coping with stress, and more.

Remember, flood water may contain harmful substances. For instance, the water may contain bacteria that could cause serious disease. It’s best if children and pregnant women avoid touching or walking in flood water.

If you are pregnant, be especially careful not to swallow any flood water. Try to keep it away from your mouth. If you feel sick in any way, talk to a doctor or nurse right away. Remember to tell them that you are pregnant.

Stay safe and be well.