Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018 September, 246(1)

The Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS) in Fukushima Prefecture: Pregnancy Outcome after the Great East Japan Earthquake

HYO KYOZUKA,1,2 KEIYA FUJIMORI,1,2 MITSUAKI HOSOYA,1,3 SEIJI YASUMURA,1,4 TADAHIKO YOKOYAMA,1 AKIKO SATO1 and KOICHI HASHIMOTO1,3

1Fukushima Regional Center for the Japan Environmental and Children's Study, Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan
3Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan
4Department of Public Health, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Fukushima, Japan

Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS) is nationwide birth cohort study that was initiated in January 2011 to investigate the effect of environmental factors on children's health. Soon after the JECS started, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, with subsequent nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing catastrophic damage in Fukushima Prefecture. After the disaster, JECS was relaunched to cover all areas in Fukushima Prefecture due to public concern. In this study, we used the results of individuals enrolled in JECS, who gave birth during 2011-2014 in Fukushima Prefecture, to elucidate pregnancy outcomes in Fukushima Prefecture. The study consisted of 12,804 maternal outcomes. We thus found that the prevalence rates of preterm birth < 37 weeks, low birth weight (LBW) < 2,500 g, and LBW < 1,500 g were 5.6%, 9.5%, and 0.8%, respectively; these rates are in accordance with the National Vital Statistics of 2014. The proportion of major anomaly among the newborns was 1.7%, the value of which was lower than other epidemiological studies. This study also found that severe obstetrics outcomes, such as hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and placental abruption, were most frequently seen among teenage mothers with low socioeconomic status. A prefecture-wide birth cohort study following a large-scale disaster may provide valuable information for obstetric care providers and residents to improve obstetric and perinatal care for pregnant women after a disaster.

Key words —— birth cohort study; natural disaster; nuclear power plant accident; obstetric outcome; teenage pregnancy

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Tohoku J. Exp. Med., 2018, 246, 27-33

Correspondence: Hyo Kyozuka, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Medicine, Fukushima Medical University, 1 Hikarigaoka, Fukushima, Fukushima 960-1295, Japan.

e-mail: kyozuka@fmu.ac.jp