- Maternal use of cell phone during pregnancy is
associated with an increased risk for behavioral problems in children.
- Higher rate of prenatal cell phone use causes
increased hyperactivity and inattention problems in child.
- Low risk for any behavioral problems in children
were seen with no prenatal cell phone use.
Children born to
mothers who used cell phones frequently during pregnancy were more likely to
suffer from behavioral problems, particularly hyperactivity/inattention
problems known as attention deficit
or ADHD, compared to children
born to less frequent users.
problems in children may be due to electromagnetic radiation from cell phones
or many other factors like parenting styles, but there is no biological
‘Expectant mothers should limit cell phone usage; parents should also consider modifying their parenting styles and habits to suit the needs of their children.’
That does mean
that expectant mothers should totally avoid cell phones.
"I would say
interpret these results with caution, and everything in moderation," said lead
author Laura Birks.
Relation Between Cell Phone Use and
Behavioral Problems in Children
For the study,
more than 80,000 mother-child pairs from Denmark, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Korea were analyzed
in five different cohorts, at different time periods. The
data was collected from 1996 to 2011.
Cell phone use
was categorized into none, low, medium, and high, depending on frequency of
calls during pregnancy reported by the mothers.
Child behavioral problems
were classified in the
borderline/clinical and clinical ranges in children aged 5-7 years, depending
on Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire or Child Behavior Checklist, as
reported by mothers.
showed that children born to mothers whose cell phone usage was high,
demonstrated higher rates of behavioral problems, especially those between 5-7
years of age.
This strong link
was similar across all five countries and time periods.
So far no known
biological mechanism that could cause prenatally emitted cell phone radiation
to promote hyperactivity in offspring has been proved.
Around 38.8% of mothers, mostly from the
Danish cohort, reported no cell phone use during pregnancy and these mothers
were less likely to have a child with overall behavioral,
hyperactivity/inattention or emotional problems.
mothers who reported being on at least four cell phone calls a day, or speaking
on a cell phone for more than an hour a day, were 28% more likely to be
hyperactive compared to children of mothers who reported being on one or lesser
number of calls a day.
The results were
same even after accounting for various confounding variables like maternal age,
marital status and education.
never used cell phones while pregnant, gave birth to children who had a lower
risk of behavioral and emotional problems compared to any of the children whose
mothers used cell phones.
Word of Caution
Parents need to
consider that the time they spend glued to their cell phones, takes their time
and attention away from their children.
When they fail
to respond to their kids' needs, the children resort
to other methods like creating a racket in order to earn the
attention they crave for.
hyperactive, attention-getting behavior in children.
The report is
published in Environment International
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder is a neuro-behavioral disorder that affects almost 3%-5% of the
children in America. This condition is diagnosed in childhood.
The exact cause of the condition
is not known. However, genetic and environmental factors are known to
contribute to this condition.
It is characterized by an inability to focus on a task. Its main features are
hyperactivity, inattention and impulsiveness.
Some symptoms of ADHD include:
- failure to hold attention for long periods
- having trouble responding
- excess talking
- constant fidgeting of hands and feet
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- What research is being done? - (https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder-Information-Page)
Laura Birks et al. Maternal cell phone use during pregnancy and child
behavioral problems in five birth cohorts. Environment
International; (2017) doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2017.03.024