Mobile phones and the foetus

April 20, 2024 

Does a pregnant mum’s mobile phone use affect her unborn child?

According to researchers from Turkey, the answer is yes.

In the first study of its kind, Gülsüm Özen and team studied a group of 67 healthy women and their babies for evidence of oxidative stress.

‘Oxidative stress occurs when the balance between the production of free oxygen radicals and their elimination by antioxidants is disrupted. Oxygen free radicals are toxic biological substances that cause lipid, protein, carbohydrate oxidation, and DNA damage,’ the authors said.

There are a number of reasons why oxidative stress in pregnancy could be a problem, the authors explain. Firstly, pregnant women have higher levels of oxidative stress than non-pregnant women. Secondly, procedures performed on newborn babies – such as resuscitation and ventilation – can generate free radicals and, thirdly, newborns don’t have a developed antioxidant system.

In their study, the researchers obtained information about the women’s mobile phone use during pregnancy, including where they kept their phones and how many phones were in the household.

They found that ‘The average mobile phone usage time of mothers was 7 years, daily phone talk time was 30 minutes, and daily internet usage time was 60 minutes.’

When each baby was born, the team took a blood sample from the umbilical cord and analysed it for markers of oxidative stress.

They found that oxidative stress was, in fact, related to mobile phone radiation, a sobering thought in today’s digital world.

The authors offered some precautionary advice.

‘The lack of certainty about the health problems caused by the use of mobile phones and related radiation does not necessarily indicate the absence of risks,’ they said. ‘The principle of “avoidance” should be adopted for known risky situations and “precautionary” for suspicious and unknown situations.’

Oxidative stress is not the only problem to be caused by wireless radiation. The authors point out that this radiation has been classified as a Class 2B (‘possible’) carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and say: ‘In studies on the side effects of EMFs on health, it has been shown EMF has been associated with many diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, blood-brain barrier damage, brain tumors, depression, suicide, DNA damage, fatigue, headache and migraine, heart diseases, hormonal imbalance, joint pain, upper respiratory tract infections, immune system disorders, high blood pressure, learning difficulties, leukemia, loss of concentration, decreased sperm count, miscarriages, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders and insomnia.’

Özen G, Kahvecioğlu D, Bulut İ, Erel Ö, Neşelioğlu S, Üstün Y, Taşar MA. Effect of Mobile Phone Usage During Pregnancy on Total Oxidant and Antioxidant Levels in Cord Blood. J Behcet Uz Child Hosp 2023;13(3):177-184;

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What can you do?

  • Reduce your mobile phone use during pregnancy.

  • Book a remote assessment of your home to reduce your exposure to wireless radiation.