Doctors say expecting mothers are encouraged to leave during mandatory evacuations

Doctors say expecting mothers are encouraged to leave during mandatory evacuations

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - You may have heard old wive’s tales linking things like a full moon, high tides, or an approaching hurricane to an expecting mother’s due date.

Since the Georgia coast just had a brush with Hurricane Dorian, WTOC is checking in with women’s healthcare professionals at Memorial Health to see if there is any truth to the tale.

It isn’t likely that the recent full moon or class call with Dorian had any sway over pregnancies in the Coastal Empire.

“We don’t really have any hard data or facts or even research to prove that there is an associated increase in labor or rupture of membranes with changes in weather,” said Dr. Stephanie Tootle, OB/GYN, Memorial Health Women’s Care.

What can cause premature births, according to Dr. Tootle, are mothers who have had preterm labor in a prior pregnancy, smoking, drug use and low body mass.

That said, Memorial Health's birth numbers have been a little high over the past two months, with nearly 300 in both July and August, compared to the low to mid-200's the first two months of the year.

In the event of a hurricane and mandatory evacuation, Dr. Tootle says the temptation for mothers near term might be to stay behind to be close to their doctor, which is something they strongly discourage.

“We have access to care for the patients that can get here, but we do recommend that if there’s a mandatory evacuation in place, that our patients evacuate, because they’re better off in a place where they can get safely to a hospital...even if it’s not their hospital," Dr. Tootle said.

Bed space is also limited in a mandatory evacuation, and high-risk pregnancies usually take top priority, which is another reason expecting mothers are encouraged to evacuate.

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