The authors report the results of surveys on the emergency transport or evacuation status of obstetric patients conducted in Miyagi prefecture, one of the major disaster areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
The surveys examined the damages to maternity institutions, evacuation status and transport of pregnant women, and prehospital childbirths and were conducted in 50 maternity institutions and 12 fire departments in Miyagi.
Two coastal institutions were destroyed completely, and four institutions were destroyed partially by the tsunami, forcing them to stop medical services. In the two-month period after the disaster, 217 pregnant women received hospital transport or gave birth after evacuation. Satisfactory perinatal outcomes were maintained. Emergency obstetric transport increased to approximately 1.4 fold the number before the disaster. Twenty-three women had prehospital childbirths, indicating a marked increase to approximately three times the number of the previous year.
In the acute phase of the tsunami disaster, maternity institutions were damaged severely and perinatal transport was not possible; as a result, pregnant women inevitably gave birth in unplanned institutions, and the number of prehospital births was increased extremely. To obtain satisfactory obstetric outcomes, it is necessary to construct a future disaster management system and to re-recognize pregnant women as people with special needs in disaster situations.
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