High Maternal Stress Levels Implicated In Rise In Premature Births In Palestine And Israel [Warning: Graphic Images]

Hospital officials in Palestine and Israel are blaming continuous rocket fire for a spike in premature births in the region. In recent weeks, rates of babies born prematurely has noticeably risen. Doctors in Palestine and Israel say that the Gaza operation has caused pregnant women to suffer from stress significant enough to cause women to go into labor many weeks before their due dates. Though due dates are not set in stone, women are expected to deliver babies within a window of a couple of weeks before or after their official due dates. When babies are born weeks early, premature births cause significant health risks for the premature babies.

The Times of Israel reported that the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot reports a 28 percent spike in premature births. At the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, a 20 percent rise in premature births has been reported in recent weeks. The Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center reports a five percent increase in premature births. The Petah Tikva Rabin Medical Center reports up to a ten percent increase in premature births. In Gaza, the same observations of premature births are being reported.

In addition to premature births, labors are difficult for terrified mothers. This fear is blamed for increased stillbirth rates. Stillbirths have occurred as women's full term deliveries become complicated from maternal stress and lack of medical access.

At a time during pregnancy when women should be nesting and preparing for their babies' arrivals, women in Israel and Palestine can't avoid the sounds of explosions and warplanes.

Mothers in both Palestine and Israel realize the tumultuous uncertainty of their babies' futures. Though most of the dangers await Palestinian babies, women in both Palestine and Israel are fully aware that their pregnancies have a high risk of ending sadly. As each side points fingers towards the other, one thing is strikingly clear: Reports of premature births in Israel and Palestine shed light on how terrifying the fighting has become for innocent civilians in both areas.

[Photo via Gov't Press Office]