Study Links Miscarriages to Gaza Rockets
March 20, 2013
YNet News — BGU researchers recently published a study, in the Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, linking rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip to an increased number of miscarriages in the southern Israeli town of Sderot.
Sderot has been a constant target of rocket firing from Gaza since 2001. The rocket attacks are preceded by a warning alarm informing residents to seek shelter immediately.
Between April 2001 and December 2008, more than 1,000 rocket alarms were sounded in or near Sderot, with 500 of them during 2008 alone.
Out of the 1,132 women who took part in the study from Sderot, only seven had never experienced a siren six months before and during pregnancy.
“The findings demonstrate a significantly increased risk of miscarriage among women exposed to potentially life-threatening situations for a prolonged period, both before and during pregnancy compared with women of similar demographic characteristics who were not exposed to missile attack alarms or missile attacks,” say authors of the study Tamar Wainstock, Ph.D. candidate and Prof. Ilana Shoham-Vardi at BGU’s Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences.
The research suggests that one possible reason for the miscarriages was an increase in the production of cortisol in the women’s bodies due to stress.