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Hurricane Readiness Tips for Pregnant Women

MONDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Hurricane season is here, and pregnant women need to take extra precautions to ensure their health and safety during a storm, an expert says.

Pregnant women who are close to their delivery date and those with high-risk pregnancies need to let their health care provider know where they will be during a hurricane. They should also ask their health care provider if it's safe for them to leave before a storm strikes, said Dr. Alfred Robichaux, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans.

Here are some other tips:

  • Plan an alternate birth location in case of evacuation or problems with road travel.

  • Have phone numbers and locations for local obstetricians and midwives in case you cannot reach your regular health care provider during evacuation.

  • Women in late pregnancy who are evacuating should bring a copy of their prenatal care record and immunizations, as well as their birth bag. They should also bring a two weeks' supply of any medications, including prenatal vitamins and prescriptions.

  • Pregnant women who go to an evacuation center should immediately notify officials and get information about the location of hospitals in the area.

  • Do everything you can to reduce stress, which is a major factor in preterm labor. By planning and preparing early, you can help reduce stress levels.

  • Create a family communication plan so everyone knows what needs to be done before and during evacuation.

Floodwaters after a storm may be polluted with infectious agents and toxic chemicals, which can harm both mother and baby. "If you are in a flood-prone area, it's probably a good idea to again fall back on your plan and evacuate so you avoid being put in that situation," Robichaux said in a medical center news release.

Robichaux also offered advice for new mothers, including creating a hurricane food kit for the entire family that can be used either at home or during a car ride to a safer location.

"Make sure mom has enough high-protein snacks and clean water to drink to prevent dehydration," Robichaux said.

He said breast milk is the sole source of recommended nutrition for babies less than 6 months old, and new mothers should pack a hand- or battery-operated pump and clean storage bottles or bags, and have a method of freezing or cold storage for pumped breast milk.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about hurricane readiness.

SOURCE: Ochsner Medical Center, news release, June 2013

Reviewed Date: --

This content was reviewed by Mid-Atlantic Womens Care, PLC. Please visit their site to find an Mid-Atlantic Womens Care obstetrician.

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Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.