Published September 1, 2016
Hurricane season can be stressful, especially during pregnancy and as a new mom. Being prepared can help you and your family stay safe!
If you have medical conditions or are close to delivery, discuss a plan with your doctor to continue care in case of an emergency. Keep a copy of documents such as medical records, insurance, medications list, and healthcare provider information together to bring to shelters if evacuation is necessary. Make sure everything is in a sealable, plastic bag, and medication is in its original container if possible. Fill any medications before the hurricane makes landfall to ensure you have enough of a supply on hand.
If you are breastfeeding – During a storm babies have an increased need for comfort and the disease-fighting factors provided by breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the recommended feeding method during an emergency because it is safe – refrigeration, clean bottles and water can be a challenge.
While stress can affect milk supply, hormones released during breastfeeding can be calming for both mom and baby.
If you are formula feeding – If breastfeeding is not possible, make sure to have a supply of single-serving ready-to-feed formula on hand. This is the best formula option during an emergency as ready-to-feed formula does not need to be mixed with water. Water can sometimes become unavailable or contaminated during an emergency. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare concentrated or powdered formula.
Ready-to-feed formula must be refrigerated after opening, so if refrigeration is unavailable, any unused portion must be discarded.
If you go to a shelter. Call in advance whenever possible – make sure they are accepting people and verify directions. Find out what you need to bring. You will most likely need baby essentials (portable crib, baby clothes, diapers), sleeping needs (pillow, blanket, sleeping bag), and toiletries. It can be loud and stressful in shelters, bring items to help soothe your baby (pacifiers, lovey) as well as medical needs such as non-aspirin liquid pain reliever, thermometer, hand sanitizer, and any prescriptions.
Cleanup and Recovery. Once the storm has passed, there will be a period of cleanup and recovery. Make sure to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your baby. Drink water or if clean water is not available, beverages that do not contain alcohol or caffeine.
If you gave birth recently, follow all the instructions your doctor or midwife gave you. Do not lift heavy objects, especially if you are pregnant or early postpartum.
Take precautions, make a plan, and stay informed and you and your family can weather the storm safely.
For more information on emergency preparedness during pregnancy visit: http://emergency.cdc.gov/preparedness/pregnantfactsheet.asp