I find it truly amazing how our bodies interact with the earth around us. You may have heard of the phase “moon cycle” which can either refer to lunar phases or menses, this is due to the commonalities between the two. Another weather related physical response is the tendency for pregnant bodies to go into labor during a hurricane.
Going into labor during a hurricane may not be great timing but as Florida prepares for its first storm of the season I thought it would be a great time to remind you of ways to prepare for a hurricane while pregnant. Its important to note that the intense weather conditions present before, during, and after a hurricane can have a real effect on the pregnant body, not only inducing labor but increased stress and strains on resources can lead to a host of gnarly situations. Those of you 38 weeks+ should know what your plans will be to ensure safety and access to things you need like food, water, and shelter.
It is not uncommon for those seeking safe shelter or those who are high risk, to shelter at the hospital where they intend to give birth. In 2017 approximately 200 expectant mothers sheltered at the Miami hospital ahead of hurricane Irma so if you feel this is the best option for you, you are not alone! Call your hospital ahead of time to ensure space is available and pack some extra comfort items like snacks, chargers, personal care items, and cozy clothes for you and anyone keeping you company.
If you are close to your due date and are staying home, its a good idea to add a few extra items to your emergency kit. In case you have to evacuate or in case you go into labor without access to external support, consider having these items on hand:
Baby care items, such as diapers, wipes and a clothes
Baby carrier or sling (should debris make it difficult to use a stroller)
Bottled water for several days
Emergency birthing supplies, such as towels and blankets, infant syringe and scissors
Flashlight and batteries
Important phone numbers and information, such as your provider's phone number and the addresses of nearby hospitals and shelters
Sources of comfort or entertainment like a book or playing cards
Nutritious, nonperishable foods, such as protein bars and dried fruit
Prenatal vitamins and other medications
Once the storm passes the risk to your safety reduces but it will be wise to remain vigilant of early labor signs as the stress of the storm can activate contractions. If your residence loses power be mindful of how heat and humidity can put extra strain on pregnant bodies, get plenty of rest in the forms of naps and breaks in the shade. Keep hydrated and avoid difficult clean up activities as your growing belly can make it more challenging for you to safely navigate climbing, lifting, or navigating flood waters.
If you have any questions or concerns about how the hurricane can impact your particular pregnancy please reach out to your Care Provider. In most cases staying home is the safest plan of action but if you feel you arent safe in your home, make arrangements now to find safe shelter. Again, many hospitals will accept pregnant people and most schools will convert to free safe spaces that you can go to prior to the storm making landfall. In any case try to find your inner peace and know that you’ve prepared and you’ve got this! Hunker down with loved ones, emergency supplies, and emergency snacks too!
Sarah Foster is a Holistic Wellness Educator, Family Life Coach, and Full Spectrum Doula in Altamonte Spring, FL. This blog provides whole person wellness education along with a full spectrum of resources for all birthing outcomes. Any information shared should be used as a resource and not a source of medical advice. If you or someone you love is interested in support let's connect today!