March of Dimes Offers Tips for Pregnant Women and New Parents(Columbia, SC) – As residents of South Carolina carefully watch the track of Hurricane Joaquin, which is now a strong category 4 storm making its way up the East Coast, the March of Dimes urges pregnant women and parents of new babies to be prepared for future emergencies, long term power outages or the need to evacuate from their homes.
“A hurricane, large snow storm or other natural disaster is a nerve-wracking time for anyone, but especially for pregnant women and new parents,” said Breana Lipscomb, State Director of Program Services for the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter. “Being prepared and having a plan in place will save precious time in an emergency and help reduce unneeded stress.”
Pregnant women should discuss any concerns and their delivery plans with their obstetrician or other perinatal care provider. Families should follow storm readiness guidelines and put together an emergency bag in the event they many need to evacuate quickly.
The March of Dimes chapters and its website (marchofdimes.org) are good sources of information for pregnant women. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov) and also offers important information about preparing for a storm.
While pregnant women should follow the general storm preparedness recommendations, they and new mothers also should take special precautions for themselves and their children. A hurricane preparation checklist from the March of Dimes is available here.
March of Dimes Emergency Preparedness Tips for Pregnant Women and New Parents
1) Pregnant women should know the signs 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
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.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Find out more at marchofdimes.org/southcarolina and on Facebook and Twitter.