Have a Plan for Pregnant Women and/or Women with Infants
Pregnant women and mothers with young babies are especially vulnerable when a hurricane strikes.
Because you and your baby have special needs, you need to prepare for the unexpected now.
- Get information,
- Make a plan, and
- Assemble a disaster kit
Accurate information is a must; you need to know how the storm and following days will affect you and your ability to meet your baby's needs. Being responsible for a baby will limit your responses to problems brought by a storm. You MUST consider the worst possible outcomes and prepare yourself. Answer the following:
- Can I safely ride out the storm in my own house?
- Decide early whether you will stay or move to friends or a shelter. If you must move, know your route.
- How might my house look after the storm?
- Your property may suffer wind damage or severe flooding. You need to prepare in case you lack running water, are unable to cook, cool or light your home, or make phone calls.
- Will I be able to get around after the storm?
- Roads might be impassable and you might be stuck with your baby in one location.
- Will stores be open?
- Stores might be damaged and unable to re-open immediately. You may be unable to obtain groceries, medical supplies and other special needs items immediately after the storm.
Make a plan:
Evacuation: Keep a list of public shelters that are designated as emergency medical shelters and know the route to the one nearest to you, or arrange with friends or family to stay with them. If you decide to stay in your house, decide on an escape route in case you have to leave suddenly. Let friends and family know your decision and routes and inform them about your back-up plan.
Supplies: List all items necessary for your own and your baby's care. List all the supplies you might need during and after the storm, sufficient to last at least one week. Then make a shorter list of supplies you will take with you to a shelter or elsewhere.
Daily living: Plan how you can run your household without electricity or running water. Plan to breastfeed if possible. Invest in a small gas cooker and a large supply of clean water. You will be able to boil water for infants and sterilize feeding utensils if necessary.
Assemble a disaster kit:
Start buying your supplies early. Add things weekly or monthly based on what you can afford. Pack all your baby's supplies in a single watertight box. If you go to a shelter, take your baby box, plus a container with enough food and other supplies to last three to five days. IMPORTANT: You need to take everything for your baby and yourself as shelters might not have supplies to meet your baby's special needs. Leave remaining supplies at home in a safe, dry place; you will need them in the days after the storm until stores re-open.
Your baby box should have:
- Diapers, wipes and a changing mat;
- Rash ointment, a fever reducer such as Panadol drops, other medication;
- If your baby is not breastfed you will need: extra bottles and teats in a sealed container, a water sterilizer such as Milton, powder formula and clean bottled water--at least 2 gallons for the shelter
- Two sets of clean clothes and a favourite blanket;
- A couple of favourite toys;
- A few jars of baby food, plus snacks if your baby is on solids.
Your own shelter kit should include:
- Drinking water & food for three to five days
- A set of clean clothes
- Medications as needed (remember reading glasses)
- Games and reading material
Your 'house' supply stockpile should be enough for at least a week. Include:
- Drinking water: A minimum of one gallon per person per day. Buy bottled water or boil water for your baby. Breastfed infants do not need additional water. For yourself, fill clean containers with tight-fitting lids with tap water. Seal them tightly and use a permanent marker to label 'drinking water' and the date; store in a cool, dark place. Start saving containers before hurricane season starts, but fill them only after a storm alert has been sent out.
- Food & drink: If your baby still breastfeeds, you only need to plan for other occupants. Have a minimum seven-day supply for each person. Buy items in cans, plastic, or other unbreakable and water-proof containers. If items have paper labels, use a permanent marker to write the name of the item directly on the container. Include high-energy and comfort foods such as granola bars, candy, and hardy fruits and vegetables.
- For baby: Stock up on formula, diapers, wipes, and snacks. If you need to sterilize bottles for your baby, add enough sterilizer to your kit. Also add favorite small toys and games to your watertight container.
- Cooking & reheating equipment & fuel: Refill gas cylinders, buy extra charcoal, stock up on candles and waterproof matches or lighters. Buy a portable stove with mini propane/butane tanks if you don't have a gas stove or grill. Stock up on Sterno blocks for heating food.
- Disposable utensils: Buy plastic cutlery, plates and cups and plenty of paper towels.
- Personal hygiene, sanitation & health aids: Stock up on toiletries, baby wipes, toilet paper, insect repellant, hand sanitizer, bleach (pure, unscented), water purification tablets and heavy-duty trash bags. Buy a first-aid kit and acquire at least two 5-gallon buckets with tight-fitting covers for sewage.
- Sundries: Your stockpile should include a non-electric can opener, sharp knife, scissors, duct tape, rope, hammer, nails, screws, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, a tarp or heavy-duty plastic, work gloves, a portable, battery-powered radio, a car charger for cell phones, flashlights and two extra packets of batteries, battery-operated lanterns, replacement bulbs and batteries
Special considerations for pregnant women:
If you are pregnant or due during hurricane season, talk to your doctor and/or midwife regarding making a plan or catering for any special need you may have. Know where to find your doctor after a storm. Write down contact numbers and check whether he/she will be leaving the island.
Consult your healthcare provider to determine whether your stage and status of pregnancy is compatible with you remaining at home or with friends, going to a public shelter or an emergency medical shelter, or going to a hospital for admission. (See below a list of public shelters with established emergency medical centers).
A storm and its aftermath can place you under undue stress and you should take extra precautions to safeguard yourself and your unborn baby, especially if you are in the early or late stages of pregnancy.
If you are close to your due date, be sure to finish your baby's shopping before the storm hits.
Public Shelters with established Emergency Medical Centers:
- West Bay Primary School
- Prospect Primary School
- Savannah Primary School
- Bodden Town Primary School
- East End Civic Center
- North Side Civic Center
Last Updated: 2010-08-15