It’s Okay to Use Your Cell Phone During Pregnancy
By Sapan Taneja
Cell phone radiation effects on pregnancy are often a concern for parents-to-be, but a new, large-scale study has put that worry to bed with no supper, finding mobile use during pregnancy is unlikely to have any effect on babies’ neurodevelopment before or after birth.
Previous research has found a correlation between disorders like hyperactivity in children and mothers using cell phones during pregnancy, but the cause for that link was not clear; authors of those studies have speculated the association could be due to distracted parenting as much as any physiological effects of cell phone radiation on pregnancy. This study goes further; its findings, after following 45,389 mother-child pairs in Norway, suggest exposure to electromagnet fields from mobile phones does not affect the mental development of babies.
“The concern for harm to the fetus caused by radio frequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones, is mainly driven by reports from experimental animal studies with inconsistent results,” said lead author of the study, Dr Eleni Papadopoulou. “Even though this is an observational study, our findings do not support the hypothesis of adverse effects on child’s language, communication and motor skills due to the use of mobile phone during pregnancy.”
Not only did the study find no link between maternal mobile phone use and potential harm to babies, they in fact found a positive correlation between mothers’ cell phone usage and babies’ language and motor skills: Children born to mobile phone users were 27% less likely to speak in simplistic sentences; 14% less likely to use incomplete grammar; 31% less likely to have a moderate language delay at age 3; and 18% less likely to have poor motor skills at age 3, compared to children of mothers who reported no mobile phone use.
“Our investigation revealed for the first time that maternal mobile phone use may actually have a positive impact,” said Professor Jan Alexander, senior author from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. “More specifically, mobile phone use in pregnancy was associated with lower risk of the child having low language and motor skills at 3 years of age.”
The study followed children up to age 5, and relied on self-reporting by mothers. While the positive findings, of course, do not mean a direct causal relationship between mothers’ mobile use and babies’ neurodevelopment, they do present a different, happier side to the mobile usage argument which has often focused on the potential harmful effects of parents’ cell phone use.
Main takeaway for mothers: Your baby’s development won’t be harmed by your cell phone use while pregnant.