New study suggests mobile phone use during pregnancy not harmful to baby

Pregnant woman taking selfie

Pack the mother guilt away! A new study of over 40 000 mothers and babies has found that maternal mobile phone use “is unlikely to have any adverse effects on child neurodevelopment”. 

Long-term, large study

The Norwegian-based study was published in the BMC Public Health Journal. Researchers analysed the data from 45 389 mums and bubs, collecting data via a questionnaire. They then followed up a few years later, gathering neurodevelopment information at ages 3 and 5.

Norwegian Institute of Public Health Professor Jan Alexander, study senior author said that the findings may help women to feel less anxious about using their phone while pregnant.

“Our large study provides evidence that pregnant women’s use of cell phone is not associated with risk of harming neurodevelopment of the fetus. 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.”

Positive benefits?

Professor Jan Alexander, also noted that while the study seemed to show mobile phone use during pregnancy and beyond might actually have benefits for kids, the jury was still out and other factors could be at play.

“Our investigation revealed for the first time that maternal mobile phone use may actually have a positive impact. More specifically, mobile phone use in pregnancy was associated with lower risk of the child having low language and motor skills at 3 years of age.”

The researchers found that (compared to children of mothers who reported no mobile phone use) children born to mobile phone users had:

  • a 27% lower risk of having lower sentence complexity
  • 14% lower risk of incomplete grammar
  • 31% lower risk of having moderate language delay at age 3
  • 18% lower risk of low motor skills at age 3

The team say these benefits remained even after adjusting for relevant variables – and the benefits were relative to the level of reported mobile phone use by the mother.

How interesting. We’ll have our ears to the ground and report back as science tells us more about this important issue.

In the mean time, you can read more about this study here.


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