How to Prepare for the Hurricane
In our September issue, we have a timely story by Parents advisor and pediatrician Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., on how to prepare for an emergency. It’s an incredibly helpful piece; Dr. Swanson breaks down the exact steps we should all take and the supplies—there are many—we should have on hand to get through three days. For all of you on the east coast, it’s worth reading the story and seeing which supplies you already have in your home, and which you may need to collect before the storm hits.
You may be especially nervous if you’re pregnant or home with a newborn. With that in mind, our friends at the March of Dimes shared some helpful preparation tips geared toward exactly those families:
1) Pregnant women should know the signs of labor, and if they experience any of these symptoms, should not wait for them to just go away. They should seek immediate medical care. Preterm labor is any labor before 37 weeks gestation. The signs of labor are:
• Contractions (the abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
• Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from the vagina)
• Pelvic pressure—the feeling that the baby is pushing down
• Low, dull backache
• Cramps that feel like a period
• Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
2) Pregnant women should pack prenatal vitamins, or perhaps an extra supply of over-the-counter vitamins, along with extra maternity clothes.
3) Fill prescription medications in advance.
4) Have bottled water and non-perishable food supplies on hand. Try to stock food that is high in protein and low in fat.
5) New parents who may need to stay in a shelter should consider bringing a safe place for their baby to sleep, such as a portable crib, as well as extra diapers and other basic medical supplies.
6) New parents also should take special steps to ensure they have food for their infants. The stress of a hurricane may affect lactating women’s milk supply, although breastfeeding can be calming for both mother and baby.
7) In the rare instance it becomes impossible to continue to breastfeed, mothers may consider weaning their baby. If they choose to switch to formula, parents should use pre-prepared formula because there may be concerns about the quality of the water supply. Do not use water treated with iodine or chlorine tablets to prepare powdered formula.
8) Pregnant women should do their best to eat regularly and nutritiously and remain hydrated. They also should do their best to get enough rest.