Background: The Fukushima Pregnancy and Birth Survey was launched to monitor pregnant mothers’ health after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) accident. Several lines of investigations have indicated that a disaster impacts maternal mental health with childbirth. However, there is no research regarding mental health of mothers with fetal loss after a disaster. In this report, we focus on those women immediately after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima NPP accident and discuss their support needs.
Materials and Methods: Data regarding 61 miscarriages, 5 abortions, and 22 stillbirths were analyzed among the women who were pregnant at the time of the accident in the present study. We used a two-item case-finding instrument for depression screening, and compared the childbirth group with the fetal loss groups. We also analyzed mothers’ opinions written as free-form text.
Results: Among the three fetal loss groups, the proportion of positive depression screens was significantly higher in the miscarriage and stillbirth group than in the childbirth group. Mothers’ opinions were grouped into six categories, with pregnancy-related items being most common, especially in the miscarriage and stillbirth groups.
Conclusion: A higher proportion of Fukushima mothers with fetal loss, especially those with miscarriage and stillbirth, had depressive symptoms compared to those who experienced childbirth. Health care providers need to pay close attention to this vulnerable group and respond to their concerns regarding the effects on their fertility.
2015 The Fukushima Society of Medical Science