Does the gender really matter? (illustrative)
Does the gender really matter? (illustrative)Thinkstock

The number of births in Israel has risen dramatically over the past week, Walla! News reports Sunday, due to the stress of constant rocket fire from Hamas in the south. 

Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva has seen a 10% increase in patients admitted while in labor over the past week, according to the daily - a phenomenon staff attribute to the stress of rocket fire and the constant blaring of sirens.

In addition, staff stated that since Operation Protective Edge - in Hebrew, Mivtza Tzok Eitan - began last week, the number of women naming their newborns "Eitan" and "Tzok" has also been on the rise. 

"Since the beginning of escalation in the south, we have birthed 317 babies," Professor Eyal Sheiner, Deputy Director of Soroka's maternity ward, stated Sunday. 

"Much of this has to do with the mind-body connection," he continued. "Following Operation Cast Lead in 2009, we published a study strongly suggesting a link between birth and stress, and it showed a significant increase in premature births [during the operation]." 

"No one really knows what causes labor to start, but stress is something that can definitely lead to this," he added. 

Since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Soroka has transferred the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and premature infant ward to a protected area, a total of 23 infants.

Unprotected maternity wards have also been moved to the basement for the time being to provide maximum protection.