Are mobile phones dangerous when pregnant?
New research published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health claims that women who use mobile phones while pregnant could be putting their unborn children at risk of developing behavioural problems.
When I read about this discovery I was in the hope that the study’s findings would be based on some minor fragment of the population (say about 2000 participants), which would mean that I wouldn’t have to take these latest deductions too seriously. But upon further reading my hope-bubble was abruptly burst – the study comprised 29,000 youngsters.
The report showed that more than 10 per cent of children exposed to mobile phones in the womb had mothers who spoke on them at least four times a day. Almost half the mothers had their mobile phones turned on at all times and around one third of children were using a mobile phone by the age of seven.
I am notoriously bad with my mobile. I usually forget where I put it – in fact, my mobile has been on hiatus at a friend’s house for three weeks after I left it there and she then went on hols. Oops.
And the number of times I switch my phone onto the ‘silent’ function and then forget to switch it back are just too many to count. Perhaps my absentmindedness is a blessing in disguise… although I certainly won’t try telling my husband that.
The man insisted on purchasing a house phone because he was convinced I would go into labour (when I was preggers with my first child) and would not be able to let him know because I probably would have mislaid my mobile. He has also told me on many occasions that in the case of an emergency I certainly won’t be the first person on his contact list.
Although experts have warned mothers that babies exposed to mobile phone signals in the womb are 30% more likely to suffer behavioural difficulties by the age of seven, some UK researchers are still sceptical. David Coggon, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Southampton, suggests mobile phones might not be to blame.
Also, Patricia McKinney, professor of paediatric epidemiology at the University of Leeds, says that there is no evidence that a pregnant mother’s behaviour is related to her mobile phone use and thereby affecting her baby.
It is so typical of scientists to be at odds, thus confusing the general public into a state of raw panic. I think that the best advice is to be sensible when pregnant; follow your instincts and read a variety of informative sources when deciding on how to respond to any topical issue that will affect how you parent.
This is a public forum and we welcome your opinions. However, libelous and abusive comments are not permitted.