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Mobile phone use in pregnancy may not affect kids’ brains

Babies born to women who use a mobile phone during pregnancy are unlikely to have any adverse effects on their neurodevelopment skills such as language, communication and motor skills, according to new research which has challenged previous theories.

According to researchers, 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.

However, “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”, said lead author Eleni Papadopoulou from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in Norway.

Conversely, the study for the first time revealed that “mobile phone use in pregnancy was associated with lower risk of the child having low language and motor skills at three years of age”, added Jan Alexander, Professor from the public health agency.

In the study, published in the journal BMC Public Health, children born to mobile phone users had a 27 per cent lower 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.

Further, 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.

“Our findings should at least alleviate any concern mothers have about using their mobile phone while pregnant,” Alexander said.

For the study, the team analysed 45,389 mother-child pairs and conducted follow ups on children at ages three and five.

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