Health

Cellphone use during pregnancy won't harm your baby, study finds

A new study published in the BMC Public Health Journal found that the use of cell phones among expectant women has no adverse effect on the brain development of the unborn child. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A new study published in the BMC Public Health Journal found that the use of cell phones among expectant women has no adverse effect on the brain development of the unborn child. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Women cautious about negative effects of mobile phones on pregnancy outcomes can now breathe a sigh of relief.

A new study published in the BMC Public Health Journal found that the use of cell phones among expectant women has no adverse effect on the brain development of the unborn child.

Findings of the study showed that radio frequency electromagnetic fields, which people get exposed to as they use phones, do not harm the foetus as was previously thought.

The study sought to clear the air on findings of numerous past studies that linked maternal mobile phone use with poor child development outcomes.

The researchers noted that most of those past studies were not conclusive since their findings originated mainly from experimental animal studies conducted in laboratories.

With this new study, however, the scientists arrived at their results after analysing data from human beings.

They compared brain development outcomes in children of Norwegian mothers who indicated that they had used mobile phones during pregnancy and children of women who avoided cell phones while they were expectant.

"Our large study provides evidence that pregnant women's use of cell phones is not associated with risk of harming neurodevelopment of the foetus,” said Prof Jan Alexander, senior author of the study from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Beneficial

Surprisingly, the researchers also found that the gadgets could actually be beneficial to the child by alleviating language disorders and motor skills development problems.

According to the study, children born to mobile phone users had a 31 per cent reduced risk of having moderate language delay issues - at the age of three - compared to children of mothers who reported no mobile phone use during pregnancy.

The kids also had a 27 per cent reduced chance of developing lower sentence complexity problems as well as a 14 per cent decreased risk of having incomplete grammar.

Prof Alexander, however, cautioned that these beneficial effects should be interpreted with caution due to the limitations common in observational studies.

Other factors

He noted that the protective effects could be as a result of other factors not measured in the study rather than maternal mobile phone use itself.

“But our findings should at least alleviate any concern mothers have about using their mobile phone while pregnant".