Ochsner - Baton Rouge Offers Tips to Expecting Mothers During Hurricane Season

During hurricane season, pregnant women and their families need to take extra precautions to ensure that things go smoothly, whether evacuating or staying. Making preparations now can spare a new mother from unnecessary worry during power outages, and storm recovery, later.

Bethanie Genre, CNM, Midwife with Ochsner Health Center – O’Neal, offers the following tips to expecting mothers:

         -Plan an alternate birth location in the event of road problems, or evacuation.

         -If it’s close to your delivery date, or if you are considered high-risk, communicate with your healthcare provider’s office to let them know where you will be. Discuss whether it is safe for you to leave prior to the storm.

         -If you are evacuating and are late in pregnancy, have a copy of your prenatal care record and immunizations and bring your birth bag.

         -Have phone numbers and locations for local obstetricians and midwives in the event you cannot reach your regular provider during evacuation. You can go to acog.org and find an OB/GYN in other areas of the state or country.

         -Hurricanes do not directly cause labor to happen. Labor is expected anytime between 37 and 42 weeks, and should be planned for accordingly.

         -Create a family communication action plan so that everyone is clear on what needs to take place before, and during, evacuation.

        -If you seek help at a shelter, immediately notify them of your pregnancy, and get information about the location of hospitals in the area.

         -Bring with you any medications, including prenatal vitamins and prescriptions – enough to last about two weeks in case you relocate during a storm.

         -Stress is a major factor in preterm labor. Early preparation and planning will help reduce stress levels.

         -Flood waters after a storm may carry all forms of infectious agents and toxic chemicals, which can harm both mom and baby. If you are in a flood-prone area, it’s probably a good idea to evacuate so that you avoid being put in a difficult situation.

Feeding your baby:

         -Create a food hurricane kit for the entire family that can either be used at home, or during a car ride to safer ground.

         -Make sure mom has enough high-protein snacks and clean water to drink to prevent dehydration

         -For babies less than six months old, breast milk is the sole source of recommended nutrition. Breastfeeding is always available and sterile.

         -Pack a battery-operated quality pump or hand pump, clean storage bottles or bags, and a method of freezing, or cold storage

         -Pumped milk will last about eight days refrigerated; previously frozen milk will last about 24 hours in the fridge.

         -Pack at least three full days and nights worth of pre-washed bottles, nipples, and formula.

 For more information, please visit ochsner.org/prepare.