Using mobile phones during pregnancy is unlikely to adversely affect the child’s brain development linked to language or movement abilities, a study claims.
Researchers from Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that children born to mobile phone users had a 27 per cent less risk of having lower sentence complexity, 14 per cent lower risk of incomplete grammar and 31 per cent lower risk of having moderate language delay at age 3, compared to children of mothers who reported no mobile phone use.
They also found that children born to mobile phone users had an 18 per cent lower risk of low motor skills at age 3, compared to children born to non-users of mobile phones.
The beneficial effects remained even after adjusting for relevant confounders and were also relative to the level of reported mobile phone use by the mother, researchers said.
“The concern for harm to the foetus 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,” researchers said.
“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,” they said.
“Our study provides evidence that pregnant women’s use of cell phone is not associated with risk of harming neurodevelopment of the foetus,” said Jan Alexander from Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
“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,” Alexander said.
Researchers analysed data from a large population-based pregnancy cohort study, which involves a range of data collected from mothers and children during and after pregnancy.
Data used included 45,389 mother-child pairs for whom self-reported questionnaire data was available on maternal mobile phone use and neurodevelopment follow ups of the children at ages 3 and 5.
The study was published in the journal BMC Public Health.
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