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Doctors prepare staff, expectant mothers for possible emergency during snowstorm

Doctors stress that patients do not rush during severe winter conditions

WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) - Snowstorms have a lot of people taking precautions just in case of an emergency.

This holds true for St. Joseph's Hospital in Warren, which is preparing labor and delivery unit staff and expectant mothers for the upcoming weekend.

"For a hospital with over 1,100 deliveries a year in a small community hospital, we have to be ready for anything that can happen," says Dr. Amine Abdul-Aal, chairman of the Department of Ob-gyn at St. Joseph's.

This includes severe weather that can impact the roads.

"If the weather is bad, we have to tell our patients ahead of time, what to expect and when they need to come to labor and delivery, that's just part of the preparations we do in our offices."

Abdul-Aal said there are four things that expecting mothers should look out for before going to the hospital:

  • You need to have regular contractions. If they occur about every five minutes or less and last around 30 seconds or more each, it may be worth getting checked to see if there is labor starting. 
  • If you feel that your water broke or experience leakage, it is best to be checked.
  • The baby should be checked on if you experience vaginal bleeding, whether it is painful or not.
  • If the baby's movements have slowed down significantly, it is a good idea to get the baby checked on.

The most important thing doctors at St. Joseph's want their patients to keep in mind is not to rush.

While hospital officials say the chance of an expected mother going into labor during this major snowfall is extremely low, it can happen.

"If you feel this is an emergency, we always advise our patients to call an ambulance so at least this way we know they're not rushing in and delivering in the hallway or anything like that."

Abdul-Aal said even if it turns out to be a false alarm, they will not send patients home in a snowstorm.

"My nurses here are available 24 hours a day and they can always, always take care of an acute emergency if it happens."

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