Soroka
Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva. Photo by Ofer Vaknin
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The rocket fire from the Gaza Strip over the last week has caused a surge in premature births in the south of Israel, the Wall news portal reported on Sunday.

Staff at the Be'er Sheva's Soroka Medical Center have recorded a 10 percent increase in births since Tuesday, carried out in protected rooms and to the sounds of sirens, according to Walla. Hospital officials attribute the sudden rise to the stress the expectant mothers have undergone since the onset of Operation Protective Edge.

"We have had 317 births since the beginning of the tension," said Prof. Eyal Sheiner, director of Soroka's maternity ward D. "People talk a lot about the connection between body and soul. In the wake of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, published research indicated a connection between stress and birth, and we showed a significant rise in premature births, including cases of preemies. No one really knows what induces birth, but stress is certainly something that can lead to it."

The hospital also noted that some of the parents gave their children the names Tzuk or Eitan, which together comprise the Hebrew name of the current military campaign.