By Roberta Neiger, ProText
Rambam Delivery Room Nurse Miriam Rabinowitz recently completed her Master’s thesis on a relatively unexamined subject, which has been all too common through Israel’s history: delivery during wartime.
Rambam nurses with a few of the babies who were born during the Second Lebanon War.
Pioter Fliter- RHCC
Rabinowitz conducted in-depth interviews with women who gave birth at Rambam during the Second Lebanon War. These discussions revealed great fear and anxiety, along with difficulties in bonding and interacting with new babies, and in breastfeeding. They also convinced Rabinowitz of the need to strengthen the delivering mother’s sense of security, control and awareness during childbirth in wartime.
“Finding systematic ways to reduce tension in pregnant women during times of crisis will decrease the potential damage to the development of babies born during wars, and their connections with their mothers,” said Rabinowitz.
In her research, Rabinowitz looked at the different aspects of “delivery under fire” and identified the specific challenges facing women who do so. To gather her data, Rabinowitz interviewed eight such mothers, all of whom had already given birth to at least one child.
Rabinowitz pointed out that that anxiety and depression during pregnancy and childbirth can affect the embryo’s patterns of behavior. As a matter of course, she explained, pregnant women experience stress in connection with their upcoming deliveries. Not surprisingly, war and life- threatening situations significantly increase these symptoms.
“The effects of tension during wartime on mothers and new babies demands intervention and appropriate answers,” said Rabinowitz, adding that she sought to shed light on “the world of women who deliver in situations of severe pressure.”
Additionally, the research has implications for the emergency underground hospital currently under construction at Rambam. This completely-protected facility, the largest of its type in the world, will contain 2,000 beds. Scheduled to open this fall, the facility will serve as a 1,500-car parking lot in quiet times. In emergencies, the lot can be rapidly transformed to a fully-operating hospital, offering services to residents of northern Israel, a population of two million.
The hospital will provide ambulatory treatments, dialysis, clinical services, delivery rooms and hospitalization wards, as well as four protected facility will be able to withstand conventional, chemical or biological attacks.
The underground hospital will designate 120 beds for delivering mothers from Haifa and Northern Israel. Rabinowitz’s research will provide a basis for creating an intervention program that will address the needs of women giving birth, thus reducing damages to both mother and baby.