Rocket attacks on Sderot significantly increased the number of miscarriages that occurred in women from the southern Israeli city, according to a new study.
The number of miscarriages likely was increased because of the rise in stress, including the release of too much cortisol, a stress hormone, wrote Tamar Wainstock and Professor Ilana Shoham-Vardi of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Health Sciences.
The study was published this month in the latest issue of Psychosomatic Medicine Journal of Bio-Behavioral Medicine.
It compared miscarriages, called spontaneous abortions, or SA in the report, in women from Sderot and Kiryat Gat, two southern cities, between April 2004 to Dec. 27, 2008, when Operation Cast Lead broke out. At that point, Kiryat Gat also came under rocket fire.
All but seven of the 1,132 women from Sderot included in the study had never experienced a siren during or six months prior to conception.
"The findings demonstrate a significantly increased risk of SA 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," according to the report.