Natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, wildfires, or hurricanes are events that bring an extreme amount of stress. Being prepared can help you cope better. As a pregnant woman or a family with babies, these guidelines will be helpful.
Here’s some ways you can prepare:
- If you’re pregnant, talk to your health care provider. Make a plan together about what to do in case of a disaster, especially if you’ve had pregnancy complications or you’re close to your due date. If your baby is in the NICU, ask about the hospital’s plan.
- Follow local and state evacuation instructions. If you do evacuate to a shelter, make sure to let staff there know if you are pregnant.
- Tell your providers where you plan to go if you’re evacuated and how to contact you.
- Write down important phone numbers and get copies of important medical records for you, your partner and children.
Pack a “disaster bag” of supplies that may be helpful if you need to leave your home. Here’s what you can put in your bag:
- Clothes and medicine for you and your family. Make sure everyone has comfortable shoes.
- Diapers, toys, pacifiers, blankets and a carrier or portable crib for your baby.
- Food, snacks and bottled water. If your baby eats formula or baby food, pack those items. Include chlorine or iodine tablets to treat water from a faucet.
- Hand sanitizer
- Batteries & flashlights
- Prenatal vitamins
- If you’re breastfeeding, a manual pump and clean bottles
Being pregnant during and after a hurricane can be very hard on your body. Rest when you can, drink plenty of clean water, and make sure you eat throughout the day. Go to your regular prenatal care appointments as soon as it is safe for you to do so. If you cannot get to your regular health care provider, ask the shelter or local hospital where you can go for care.
Following a disaster, some women may experience preterm labor. Make sure you know the signs of preterm labor.
- Change in your vaginal discharge (watery, mucus or bloody) or more vaginal discharge than usual
- Pressure in your pelvis or lower belly, like your baby is pushing down
- Constant low, dull backache
- Belly cramps with or without diarrhea
- Regular or frequent contractions that make your belly tighten like a fist. The contractions may or may not be painful.
- Your water breaks
Contact your provider, go to a hospital, or tell someone at the shelter if you have ANY signs or symptoms. Even if you have just one sign or symptom, it is important to contact a health care provider. Getting help quickly is the best thing you can do.
Learn more about how to prepare and cope with a natural disaster.