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Severe storms pose threats to expectant mother
Hurricane season is here.
A severe storm can pose a threat to expectant mothers.
Doctors say pregnant women who are close to their delivery date and those with high-risk pregnancies need to take extra precautions to ensure their health and safety during a storm,
Jim Carmack/Channel 3 News
"There's a perception that if a hurricane comes to the Gulf Coast, the drop in barometric pressure could cause expectant mothers to go into labor. So is that fact or fiction? And what should expectant mothers do make preparations if a hurricane does come this way? We stopped by Sacred Heart Hospital to find out."
Does the birth rate go up when the pressure goes down? Dr. William Lile says 'not exactly'.
Dr. William Lile/Obstetrics and Gynecology
"Some of the smaller studies show there might have been a little bit of an association with lower barometric pressure and maybe breaking the bag of water and going into labor. But the larger studies really haven't shown that kind of association."
But it is proven that increased activity and increased anxiety do contribute to the onset of labor.
"When we have a storm out in the Gulf churning up and heading our way, everybody's a lot more active and everybody's a lot more anxious."
"Whether it's related to the barometric pressure, we'll probably never know."
Whatever the cause, women late in their pregnancies need to have a hurricane plan in place, too. Include the basics bottled water, medications, cash and gas in the vehicles. Plus decide now when and how you will evacuate.
"Get a copy of your records from your OB/GYN now. That way if you do evacuate, you're either going north or west or east, and you do go into labor and you do need to go to an unfamiliar hospital you have copies of your records. They know the details about your pregnancy. They know your blood work, they know your blood type and they know what's been going on and they know your due date and they can better treat you by having that information."
Heather Boothe is 18 weeks into her pregnancy. She was here through Hurricane Ivan and says that experience is helping her plan for this season with a baby on the way.
Heather Boothe/Expecting in November
"We actually had the roof of the house we were living in our living room collapse. And having been through it I'm not afraid. It's just be prepared. The more prepared you are the less you really need to worry."
During a hurricane, Sacred Heart and other local hospitals will be equipped to handle emergencies that arise, but they are not shelters. The safest plan might just be to leave town.
"So while there may not necessarily be an increase in deliveries during a hurricane, it has been noted there is a spike in deliveries nine months after a hurricane.
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