Volume 60 (2014) Issue 1 Pages 75-81
Background: On 11 March 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake followed by a powerful tsunami hit the Pacific Coast of Northeast Japan and damaged Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing a radiation hazard in Fukushima Prefecture. The objective of this report is to describe some results of a questionnaire-based pregnancy and birth survey conducted by the Radiation Medical Science Center for the Fukushima Health Management Survey.
Materials and Methods: Questionnaires were sent to women who received maternal and child health handbooks from municipal officers in Fukushima Prefecture between 1 August 2010 and 31 July 2011, with the aim of reaching those who were pregnant at the time of the disaster. Mailing began 18 January 2012. Data were analyzed separately for six geographic areas in Fukushima Prefecture.
Results: The total number of women meeting survey criteria was 15,972. The number of responses received to date is 9,298 (58.2%). Data from 8602 respondents were analyzed after excluding 634 invalid responses and 5 induced and 57 spontaneous abortions (less than 22 gestational weeks). The incidences of stillbirth (over 22 completed gestational weeks), preterm birth, low birth weight and congenital anomalies were 0.25%, 4.4%, 8.7% and 2.72%, respectively. These incidences are similar to recent averages elsewhere in Japan.
Conclusion: Considering the pregnancy and birth survey data in aggregate, our disaster seemed to provoke no significant adverse outcomes over the whole of Fukushima prefecture. But post-disaster prenatal care and support intended for patients’ safety and security should be coupled with ongoing surveillance and rigorous data analysis.