Mobile phone use in pregnancy: myths and truths

There is no scientific evidence on contraindications to the use of mobile phones in pregnancy, however, there are some considerations that you should take into account. Know which ones and why.

Last update: November 20, 2021

More than 5 billion people use mobile devices for communication, information, work or entertainment. And the use of the mobile in pregnancy could not escape these apprehensions. The growth is exponential and the questions about the risk of exposure to this technology cover different areas and subjects.

With good reason, because animal experiments have yielded data that raise alarms. Baby mice exposed to mobile phones show behavioral disturbances.

However, there is no confirmed evidence in humans and research is the order of the day. The general recommendations for the use of mobile phones in pregnancy call for using these devices wisely and not neglecting the voices that educate and alert.

What do we expose ourselves to in pregnancy when using mobile phones?

Cell phones, like other household or frequently used objects, emit electromagnetic waves. We do not see them, but we are surrounded and traversed by energy transmitted from different places and objects.

We do not expose ourselves to radiation the same way when we take an X-ray film as when we look closely at the chicken that we cook in a microwave or when we use a mobile phone. But little or a lot, the decisive thing is that waves are present with undetermined effects on the human body.

Neither are they in the fetus, the baby, or the growing child. This, in regards to waves.

Other dangers have been debated, such as unnecessary exposure to the telephone. For example, that we spend the night with him under the pillow or that the doorbell is too loud.

The constant presence of mobile phones in daily life seems inescapable.

Electromagnetic waves: ubiquitous

Electromagnetic waves are invisible and make radio, television and mobile phone communications possible. In a world like the one we live in, interconnected, these radiations are like the air we breathe.

And like air or water not suitable for consumption, radiation can exceed the limit of what is allowed to stop being harmless. What is that limit? When waves act on cells and tissues.

Wave types: ionizing and non-ionizing

It should be specified that there are ionizing and non-ionizing waves, differentiated by the frequency and the amount of energy they transmit. Ionizers are capable of detaching electrons from atoms and, therefore, causing irreversible damage to tissues.

Non-ionizing ones emit low energy, but they could also cause effects on people. There are, for example, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can affect the skin. And visible radiation, such as lasers.

Symptoms related to exposure to electromagnetic radiation

In this regard, radio frequency disease has been documented, a diffuse set of symptoms that would be related to exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Such symptoms reveal disorders that can be associated with various causes. We talk about fatigue, irritability, headache, nausea and anorexia.

In fact, high intensity electromagnetic emissions could cause short-term health damage. And in the case of pregnant women, when the fetus is in the process of cell formation, it is more than necessary to meet the minimum recommendations.

Caution, but not alarm

Various information suggest that at home, electromagnetic emissions are well below the threshold where they could cause harm. And the effects of different household appliances diminish with distance. Outside of areas with radars and antennas, the acceptable limit will be well below what is allowed, even if there is no fixed and exact limit.

In animal experiments there are frequencies and intensities that provoke reactions in behavior. But these amounts appear to be well above the exposure that humans are exposed to under normal conditions.

In a blunt way, the National Cancer Institute affirms that the only proven biological change of the mobile in the body is warming. And specifically, in the area that comes into contact with the device.

Numerous studies analyze the possibility of gliomas as a result of continuous exposure to mobile phones, but digital technology, unlike analog, tends to increasingly separate the apparatus from the head or the ear. Again, the National Cancer Institute states that the greatest risk of using mobiles is in driving distractions and traffic accidents.

Recommendations on the use of mobile phones in pregnancy

The mobile phone emits non-ionizing radiation through its antennas, so that the most exposed parts of the body will absorb this energy. For this sense, it is necessary to prevent the mobile from coming into contact with the skin, beyond the hands that hold it. Speakers and hands-free systems will help keep the heat source away.

Restricting the use of the mobile phone during pregnancy to hours of the day and, especially, not taking it to bed to precede sleep, is ideal. Rest would be affected by the continuous interaction of light and sound. The multiple impulses of color and rhythm overstimulate and do not predispose to sleep, but to fatigue.

The use of the mobile at bedtime is not recommended, whether or not you are pregnant. Light and overstimulation are not conducive to rest.

Much research, but little conclusive data

Communication technologies are part of the most profound transformation of human life on the planet. So a discussion on the effects of mobile phone use on pregnant women will elicit comments of a very different nature.

Observation groups, animal experiments, statistics, and cases do not yield conclusions. The telecommunications market is pressurized and prone to change in a dizzying way.

Now, regardless of radiation and its biological effects, there is one organ that is more exposed than all: the brain. The neurological effects, on memory, learning and cognitive function in general are unavoidable points in the most vulnerable population (children, young people, mothers and babies).

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