PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Hurricane Michael left many without power or cable for quite some time after the storm. Nine months later, a significant amount of “hurricane babies” will soon be born.
“There’s something to be said that when there’s nothing else to do,” said Dr. Sam Wolf, an Emerald Coast OB-GYN who delivers babies at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center. “We had a time period right after the storm with no electricity, no cable, no anything so of course you can imagine, about 8 weeks after that we had a significant influx of patients showing up pregnant in our office.”
While it can be an exciting time for families, doctors have some concerns.
“There’s all kinds of physiological problems from the inherent stress of what this community went through,” said Dr. Wolf. “What kind of effect that will have on the population coming in here to deliver babies, we’ll have to see. We just don’t know.”
In the months following the storm, he says an upswing in drug use and stress as well as a lack of prenatal care, could cause complications.
“When you have a patient that shows up here with no prenatal care, you just don’t know what to expect,” said Dr. Wolf. “You can run into all kinds of problems with that.”
“Getting even a ride to the doctors has been very stressful for the pregnant mothers we see come in,” said Alexus Trin, a nurse working at the hospital.
Dr. Wolf and his staff are expecting to deliver around two hundred babies next month.
“August is going to be probably the busiest month this hospital’s had in terms of deliveries,” he said. “That’s my prediction, but we’ll be ready for it.”