Anxiety and Fears of Pregnant Women: Evaluation of Incidence during the Earthquake in Turkey, 1999

David Mankuta, Yeheskel Levy, Paul Benedek, Avishay Goldberg, Adrian Rachstein, Erez Onn, Giora Martonovits, Yaron BAR‐DAYAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Pregnancy is the time in our life representing more than any other period the continuation of life and expectations for a brighter future. Any threat to the well‐being of the individual, loss of life in the family or significant property damage may affect the physical and emotional well‐being. An earthquake disaster is a rare and unique life‐threatening state of major emotional stress; however, the emotional and behavioural effects of this unique scenario have not yet been described in the medical literature. Objective: To study some of the effects of an earthquake disaster experience on pregnant women's behaviour and emotions during and after the earthquake. Patients and Methods: We conducted a survey, using a questionnaire prepared by Israeli and Turkish physicians during the IDF field hospital stay in Adapazari in August 1999. The questionnaire focused on some behavioural and emotional aspects that were experienced by these women during and after the earthquake. The questionnaire was filled in by 15 pregnant women who attended the IDF field hospital after the earthquake in Turkey in August 1999. Results: We found that initially the patients were very concerned about their own lives but instinctively they protected their pregnancy by shielding the abdomen with their hands (53%). The stressful state temporarily affected their perception of fetal movements. Nine patients graded their state as being concerned to extremely concerned on a scale of 1 to 5. Conclusion: Pregnant women are concerned about their own lives as well as about their fetus. A reduction in the perception of fetal movements with a recovery after several hours is common. The psychological effects of a life‐threatening disaster on pregnant women should be further investigated by large studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)38-40
Number of pages3
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Medicine
Issue number42006
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • anxiety
  • earthquake
  • fears
  • field hospital
  • pregnancy


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