In 2022, a concerning study was published in the journal Heliyon, where researchers reviewed and analyzed articles that looked at the effects of harmful electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation on the health of mothers, babies, and pregnancy outcomes.
In recent years, the usage of smartphones and electronic devices has increased significantly, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, these devices emit harmful non-ionizing electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation of high frequency in the range of 100 kHz to 300 GHz. Researchers have conducted a systematic review and analysis of various studies that highlight the impact of EMF radiation on physiological and pregnancy outcomes with regards to the mother, birth, and the child. The study found that exposure to high levels of EMF radiation during pregnancy can cause several adverse effects on the mother and the child.
The female placenta plays a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of oxygen and nutrients between the tissues of the mother and the fetus. Alterations in the mother's body due to exposure to EMF radiation can affect fetal growth and development. The radiation emitted from smartphones can penetrate fetal tissues and cause hormonal imbalances in the mother, along with thermal, anthropometric, and cardiovascular changes in the fetus.
The researchers conducted a systematic review of studies that reported negative physiological and pregnancy outcomes due to smartphone-induced EMF radiation on mothers and children's health. They searched various databases and used keywords such as "smartphones," "radiation," "pregnancy," "birth," and "infant outcomes" to obtain relevant studies. After applying eligibility criteria and critical appraisal, the researchers included 18 studies for the analysis.
The scientists found that pregnant women who were exposed to high levels of EMF radiation had some concerning health outcomes for themselves and their babies. For example, these women were more likely to have high levels of a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which can be a sign of thyroid problems. This, in turn, was associated with a higher risk of premature delivery, growth problems for the baby in the womb, and other complications like preeclampsia and bleeding.
Babies born to mothers with high levels of EMF radiation exposure were also more likely to have certain health issues. These included a lower birth weight, smaller head and chest circumference, hyperactivity, and speech problems. Additionally, the study found that these babies had changes in their heart rate variability (HRV), which is a measure of the health of their developing nervous system. Changes in HRV could potentially be a sign that the nervous system is not developing as it should, which could have long-term consequences for the child's health and development.
The negative impact of EMF radiation on the well-being of pregnant women and their children cannot be overlooked. Further studies must consider the effects of high and low frequencies of EMF radiation with conclusive evidence on changes in several pregnancies and physiological parameters at different stages of pregnancy. Healthcare workers must evaluate the effects of EMF radiation in pregnant women to ensure a safe pregnancy. These findings suggest that pregnant women may want to take precautions to reduce their exposure to EMF radiation if possible, such as avoiding prolonged use of devices that emit electromagnetic radiation, like cell phones or laptops, and keeping them away from their bodies as much as possible.
Sources: El Jarrah, I. and Rababa, M. (2022) "Impacts of smartphone radiation on pregnancy: A systematic review", Heliyon, 8(2), p. E08915.