Are Cellphones Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

Pregnant women have a TON to talk about on the phone, from spreading the big "guess what?" news to family and friends to running baby names by her hubs. Just one problem: Rumors have circulated that cellphones aren't safe for pregnant women. Apparently radiation may pose health risks to the developing fetus. According to a study at Yale, pregnent mice exposed to cellphone radiation had offspring plagued with behavior problems, like hyperactivity and memory loss. Yikes!


Granted, the Yale researchers are quick to point out that more research needs to be done before they reach any firm conclusions. And while the jury's still out, here's what other experts have to say on the topic based on the evidence so far. "Electromagnetic radiation used in cellphones may have an affect on 'neurite outgrowth' -- the connections between neurons -- in a developing nervous system," says Lee Dennis, ND, a naturopathic doctor at This, in turn, could be a mechanism for causing behavioral issues.

That's not to say that pregnant women have to swear off cellphones, says Dr. Devra Davis, an epidemiologist and founder of the Environmental Health Trust who’s studied this phenomenon in her book Disconnect: The Truth About Cellphone Radiation, What Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family. "I'm not saying pregnant women can't use cellphones at all, but they should be very much aware that even just a few inches away from their body can reduce their exposure."

Here's the deal with distance: A cellphone’s electromagnetic field is one-fourth the strength at a distance of two inches from the body, and fifty times lower at three feet (that's why many cellphones come with a warning that says: Do not hold closer than one inch from your body. Go figure).

As a result, if you're pregnant and concerned, be sure to keep your cellphone in a purse or bag rather than in a pocket on your body, and use a headset instead of placing the phone near your ear. When you sleep, keep your cellphone at a distance of at least a few feet from your bed rather than tucked under your pillow or nearby on your nightstand.

And since the radiation continues as long as your cellphone is on, texting doesn't keep you in the clear. So if you do text, place the phone on a table -- not on your belly! -- or hold it away from your body. And if you must play Angry Birds, consider "airplane mode," which does not emit radiation.

More from The Stir: Keep Your iPhone Away From Your Belly!

Certain products might also help. Cellphone cases from claim to limit radiation exposure; the case for an iPhone 5s, for instance, can reduce your exposure to up to five times below the Federal Communication Commission's Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) limit, a metric for measuring the absorption of radio-frequency into the body.

Bottom line: If you fall into the "better safe than sorry!" camp, taking a few simple precautions could bring peace of mind.

Did you change your cellphone habits during your pregnancy?


Image © Steve Hix/Somos Images/Corbis

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