Disaster safety tips for expecting and new parents


Disasters can be scary and stressful, especially if you’re expecting or have a baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tips to get prepared before a disaster as well as what to do in case of a disaster to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.

Talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider about where you will get prenatal care or deliver your baby if your doctor’s office or hospital is closed.

If you are close to your due date, learn the signs of labor including the signs of early labor. Talk to your healthcare provider about what to do in case of an emergency.

Be informed by checking with your local emergency management agency to find out how to get emergency alerts, such as text alerts.

Prepare an emergency kit and make a family communication plan for how you and your family will contact one another and what steps you will take in different types of situations.

Remember that during and after a disaster, pregnant women have special medical needs.

If you have any signs of labor, call your healthcare provider or 911, or go to the hospital immediately if it is safe to leave.

Be prepared to leave your home quickly and have your emergency kit ready to go.

Tell staff at a shelter or in temporary housing that you are pregnant and if you have any health problems as soon as possible.

Continue taking prenatal vitamins or prescription medications as directed.

Protect yourself from infections by washing your hands often and staying away from moldy or dirty places and people who are sick. If you do get sick, talk with a healthcare provider right away.

Once you are out of immediate danger, continue your prenatal care even if it is not with your primary doctor. Tell the doctor or other healthcare provider if you have any health problems and if you need help getting your prenatal vitamins or medications.

To help with physical stress, drink plenty of clean water and rest as often as you can. To help relieve emotional stress, talk to a healthcare provider, friend, or family member about your concerns and feelings.

A disaster can make it difficult for parents and caregivers of infants to access necessary supplies and health care. Remember to have infant care supplies like baby food and a portable kit in your ready to go emergency kit.

Whether you breastfeed or use formula for your baby, learn more about infant feeding during disasters.

During disasters, harmful chemicals from businesses and other places may be released into the environment. Listen to announcements from emergency officials about chemical safety and actions you may need to take to protect yourself.

If you have questions about exposure to harmful chemicals while breastfeeding, call MotherToBaby at 1-866-626-6847 or call the nationwide poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

If you are away from your home during a disaster, take these actions to help your baby sleep safely.

As soon as it is safe to do so, see a doctor or other healthcare provider for well-baby checkups or if you’re concerned about a health problem, even if it is not with your baby’s usual doctor. Tell them if you need help getting your baby’s prescription medications.

If you have given birth within the last two months, you may have additional considerations and unique challenges.

Prepare a kit with copies of medical records, health care providers’ information, medicines and baby supplies.

As soon as it is safe to do so, get a postpartum checkup if you are due for a visit, even if it is not with your usual doctor.

If you are experiencing emotional changes or think that you may be depressed, make an appointment to talk to your health care provider as soon as possible.

If you’re not ready to get pregnant, you can ask for several months’ supply of the pill, patch, or ring or consider using a birth control method that will prevent pregnancy for an extended period of time.

If you use feminine hygiene products, such as menstrual pads or tampons, consider bringing a supply, as they might not be immediately available when you need them.

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