Are You Ready for Hurricane Irene? How New Moms and Moms-to-Be Should Prepare

Are you prepared for an emergency? Here's what pregnant women and moms with young babies need to know to get ready for Hurricane Irene

The impending hurricane is stressful enough: Will we need to evacuate? What's our emergency plan? Will the house flood? Will my garden gnomes wash away into the great abyss? Add being pregnant or a new parent to the mix, and it’s a category 5 anxiety attack. Here are smart tips from the March of Dimes about how pregnant women and new moms should prepare for the upcoming hurricane.

Pack your bags. In case you need to evacuate, you should put together an emergency bag filled with extra prenatal vitamins, any other meds you may be taking, extra maternity clothes, bottles of water, protein-rich snacks, toothpaste, soap, other toiletries and important papers  like insurance policies, wills and licenses.

Call your provider. If you are close to your delivery day -- or high-risk -- talk to your doc or midwife to make a plan. You'll want to know if your planned hospital or birthing center might need to change and how to reach your provider in an emergency. If you're close to your due date, discuss what to do if you're not able to reach medical help.

Review the signs of preterm labor. If you experience any signs labor such as a change in vaginal discharge, contractions, cramps or pelvic pressure, this is not the time to wait it out. Seek medical care ASAP.

Stock the house. Have bottled water, baby food, pre-prepared formula (if the water water supply is impacted, you’re safe) and non-perishables on hand, especially food that’s high in protein and low in fat, like beans. You'll also want the usual emergency supplies -- first aid kit, batteries, flashlights, candles, extra blankets, baby wipes and freshly-filled Rxs.

Check your gear. New parent? If you’re evacuated, you may need to stay in a shelter, so take a portable crib, diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, basic medical supplies and pre-prepared formula, too. It’s important to note that stress may affect your milk supply,  so even breastfeeding moms should pack formula and bottles.

For more on being hurricane-ready, check out The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the March of Dimes guidelines for staying safe in a disaster for pregnant women and for new parents.

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