By Improving Maternal Health
Courtesy of the American Public Health Association
June 3, 2020
June 1 marked the beginning of the Atlantic Basin hurricane season. Forecasters predict 2020 to be the busiest in a decade. Being pregnant during hurricane season and the current COVID-19 pandemic may have women feeling more anxious.
As part of the planning process, a pregnant woman should review these three items:
- Have a copy of her prenatal record from her physician’s office.
- Know the location of other places to have her baby in case she cannot get to the hospital or birthing center of her choice.
- If a woman is close to her due date, she should speak with her health care provider about what to do in case of an emergency.
Emergency Preparedness Kit
Families may already have an emergency kit, including supplies such as flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, food and water. Additionally, a pregnant woman’s emergency kit should also contain nutritious foods, such as protein bars, nuts, dried fruit and granola; maternity and baby clothes; prenatal vitamins and other medications; and extra bottled water. (Note: It’s especially important for pregnant women to always stay hydrated.) It is also important to have on hand emergency birth supplies, such as clean towels, sharp scissors, infant bulb syringe, medical gloves, two white shoelaces, sheets and sanitary pads; two blankets; and closed-toe shoes.
During and after a hurricane
While the decision to leave your home can be hard, do not ignore evacuation orders. If evacuated, upon arrival at the shelter, make sure that officials know that you are pregnant or have an infant with you. No matter where a woman is after a hurricane, it is important to continue her prenatal care.
If evacuation orders are not given and a woman remains at home, stay inside until officials say it is safe to leave. If the home is too damaged to stay in after a hurricane, the woman may need to go to a shelter or to stay with friends or family. Families should decide beforehand where you can go.
Being pregnant during and after a hurricane can be a stressful time and hard on a woman’s body. A pregnant woman should rest as much as she can, drink plenty of clean water and eat several times during the day. It is important to go to her regular prenatal care visits as soon as she is out of immediate danger.
If a woman cannot reach her regular health care provider, ask at the emergency shelter or local hospital where she can receive care.
To find more information about hurricane preparedness while being pregnant, visit the American Public Health Association or download the Hurricane Preparedness flyer for pregnant women and families with infants.
Local Emergency Preparedness Resources
Portions are reprinted with permission of APHA’s Get Ready campaign.