Is Mobile Phone Use Safe for Pregnant Women?
In a new study headed by Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the researchers observed data gathered from the large Norwegian population-based pregnancy group study MoBa, which takes data from mothers and children throughout pregnancy and even after delivery.
The study observed some 45,389 mother-child pairs who had provided self-reported data through a questionnaire regarding their mobile phone use during pregnancy, with their children also receiving neurodevelopment follow-ups as they reach ages 3 and 5.
The researchers found that children born to mobile phone users had a 27 percent reduced risk of having lower sentence complexity, 14 percent reduced risk of incomplete grammar and 31 percent reduced risk of having moderate language delay and 18 percent reduced risk of low motor skills at age 3, compared to the mothers who reported no mobile phone use during their pregnancy.
The result of the said study was believed to be true after the team had adjusted for other factors and were also relative to the level of mobile phone use reported by the mothers.
“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. 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.”
The researchers noted that the beneficial effect of mobile phone use during pregnancy may be due to some other factors not measured in this study affecting mobile phone use and children’s neurodevelopment, rather than the mobile phone use itself.
As the amount of talk a child can have can promote vocabulary and language skills, the team assessed that having a mother who is more extrovert could also be a factor, hypothesizing that the mothers would talk more and may therefore use their mobile phones more.
“We reported a decreased risk of low language and motor skills at three years in relation to prenatal cell phone use, which might be explained by enhanced maternal-child interaction among cell phone users,”
Furthermore, Prof. Jan Alexander, senior author of the said study noted as follow:
“The beneficial effects we report should be interpreted with caution due to the limitations common in observational studies, but our findings should at least alleviate any concern mothers have about using their mobile phone while pregnant,”