Safety Messages for Pregnant, Postpartum, and Breastfeeding People During Natural Disasters and Severe Weather | Reproductive Health

During and After a Natural Disaster: If You Are Pregnant

During and after a disaster, you may have strong emotions. Connecting with family, friends, and others in your community can help you cope with a natural disaster. Take care of yourself and each other. Know when and how to seek help.

  • During a natural disaster, you may have to stay at a shelter or temporary housing. If you go to a shelter, tell the staff that you are pregnant so they can help you.
Pregnant woman talking to a shelter staff member

If you need to leave your home, find out where to shelter. Tell the shelter staff as soon as possible that you are pregnant and if you have any health problems.
  • Get medical care right away if you are having signs of labor. Call your doctor, 911, or go to the hospital immediately if it is safe to leave. If you are in a shelter, tell the staff as soon as possible about your symptoms.
  • When it is safe to do so, make an appointment to continue your prenatal care, even if it is not with your usual doctor.
  • Get your vaccines, like COVID-19, RSV, flu, and Tdap shots to protect you and your baby against COVID-19, RSV, seasonal influenza, and whooping cough. Vaccination helps protect you during pregnancy and protects your baby for several months after birth.

If You Get Sick

  • If you do get sick, talk with a health care provider right away. Explain that you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
  • Some infections might harm your developing baby. The sooner you get the care you need, the better.
  • While you are sick, drink plenty of clean water, rest, and follow the health care provider’s advice.

Taking Medications

  • Before you start taking any medicines, even ones that you can buy at the store, talk with a health care provider.
  • Make sure to tell the doctor or nurse that you are pregnant or might be pregnant. Some medicines are not good to take during pregnancy, but others are okay.
  • Continue taking your multivitamins with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day to help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
  • If you are already taking another medicine, talk to your health care provider before stopping that medicine or taking a new medicine.
Pregnant woman talking to doctor about medication.

Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking.

During Extreme Heat

  • During extreme heat, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, stay hydrated, and try to keep cool to prevent your body from overheating.
  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as you can. If your home is not air-conditioned, reduce your risk for heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned, and using air conditioning in vehicles. Contact your local health department or find an air-conditioned shelter or cooling center in your area.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

Follow these steps to prevent mosquito bites to reduce your risk for illnesses spread by mosquitoes.

  • Cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay and sleep in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens.
  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. These are safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used as instructed.
  • Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as trash containers, tires, buckets, toys, planters, flowerpots, birdbaths, or pools.

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