Hurricane preparedness for pregnant women, families

Published: Jul. 7, 2018 at 1:27 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2018 at 3:14 PM CDT
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(WAFB) - For expecting mom, Allison Morrison, exciting news of an October due date was soon laced with worry after realizing her pregnancy coincided with hurricane season.

"Ever since I was little, bad weather makes me really uneasy," said Morrison. "So when we found out that we were expecting and it was in the middle of hurricane season, I'm a planner, I wanted to have a plan."

Morrison found the resources she needed at Woman's Hospital. She learned there are a lot of ways pregnant or expecting moms can prepare for a potential storm, including adding some extra items to the standard emergency kit.

"If you are really close to your due date, some of the things that I would definitely recommend is getting a copy of your records from your physician's office," said Woman's community education coordinator, Angela Hammett.

Prenatal records for pregnant women or vaccination records for newborns are helpful in case of an evacuation. That was a lesson the hospital learned the hard way following Hurricane Katrina.

Hammett adds expecting moms can also add additional hurricane items to their hospital "go-bag" including extra clothes, closed-toe shoes, and prenatal vitamins. For families with newborns, emergency kits should also include baby supplies like diapers, wipes, and bottles. Hammett says parents who use formula should consider stocking up on ready-to-feed formula in case there's an issue finding water. She says moms who breastfeed should continue to do so.

More tips and information on hurricane preparedness during pregnancy and for other patients as well can be found here.

"Breastfeeding is the cleanest, it's the easiest, it's the best," said Hammett.

Nutrition specialist, Brooke Schoonenberg, says it's also important to consider which emergency foods expecting moms should stock up on. She says it's important to prepare at least three days' worth of non-perishable foods and plenty of water. Schoonenberg says breastfeeding moms especially need at least 84 ounces of water per day. Dehydration can affect milk supply.

"The important thing is that you are eating throughout the day, so it might not be an ideal choice, but if you can get three solid meals in with a protein, a fruit and or a vegetable, and some sort of starch," said Schoonenberg.

Any severe storm can put a lot of stress on an expecting mom, so the experts say it's important to listen to your body and watch for signs of early labor, especially if you're in your final months. Those signs include contractions every 10 minutes or more often, or not feeling the baby move as frequently. Hammett explains that a change in air pressure can lead to a woman's water breaking early.

"It's better to be safe than sorry. If you have some symptoms that you are worried about, come to the hospital. We will take care of you," said Hammett.

These are tips that have helped put Morrison at ease. "I know now what to pack in my bag, so I'm prepared in case we have to evacuate unexpectedly because of a hurricane, the right foods to eat, so I'm defiantly feeling more prepared now," she said.

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