Direct effects of EMF radiation emitted by mobile phones on pregnancy, childbirth and infant outcomes

In a recent study published in the journal HeliyonResearchers systematically reviewed and analyzed articles highlighting the impact of harmful electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation on physiological and pregnancy outcomes with respect to the mother, birth, and child.

Study: Impacts of smartphone radiation on pregnancy: a systematic review.  Image Credit: Midpoint/ShutterstockTo study: Impacts of smartphone radiation on pregnancy: a systematic review.. Image Credit: Midpoint/Shutterstock


Introduction

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused harmful effects on human health around the world. Online strategies have been applied to reduce the associated negative effects due to rapid viral transmission through interpersonal contact. This has led to an increase in the use of smartphones and other electronic devices that emit harmful, non-ionizing high-frequency EMF radiation in the range of 100 kHz to 300 GHz.

The female placenta facilitates the exchange of oxygen and nutrients between the tissues of the mother and the fetus. Therefore, changes in the mother’s body can affect fetal growth and development. EMF radiation emitted by mobile phones can penetrate fetal tissues and cause hormonal imbalances in the mother and thermal, anthropometric, and cardiovascular changes in the fetus. Therefore, it is important to analyze these harmful effects induced by radiation in terms of physiological and pregnancy outcomes in mother and baby.

Previous studies reported adverse effects on the maternal abdomen exposed to EMFs. However, the evidence is limited. Therefore, in the present study, the researchers reviewed studies on the negative impact of exposure of the maternal abdomen to EMF radiation induced by smartphones.

About the study

Two independent reviewers conducted a systematic review including qualitative or full-text qualitative studies printed in English in the last five years that reported negative pregnancy and physiological outcomes of smartphone-induced EMF radiation on the health of mothers and children. in humans and animals, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

Data were searched on April 28, 2019, in databases such as PubMed, EBSCO, CINAHL, and MEDLINE using keywords such as “smartphones”, radiation, “hormones”, “pregnancy”, “birth”, “miscarriages”, “newborn health”. ”, “adult health”, “low weight”, “child outcomes” and “physiological alterations”. Databases with gray literature such as ProQuest, Open Gray and Google Scholar were also explored. The data was updated on February 2, 2021. The researchers used Boolean operators such as “OR” and “AND” for the literature search. Reports, book chapters, editorial and conference articles, and dissertations were not included.

Initially, 10,450 published articles were obtained. However, only 18 articles were chosen for the study after removing duplicates and applying the eligibility criteria. For critical appraisal, the National Institute of Health (NIH) tool, the Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Model, the Toxicology Data Reliability Assessment Tool. (ToxRTool), the Risk of Bias in Non-Randomized Studies – of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool and the Risk of Bias 2 (ROB-2) Cochrane tool were used.

Results and Discussion

In the current review, data from 18 studies of various types, including cross-sectional, experimental, prospective cohort, meta-analyses, and modeling studies conducted in all nations, were reviewed at level of evidence A or B only in 75% of cases. to them. The analysis indicated that pregnant women exposed to high levels of EMF radiation had elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), miscarriages, preterm birth along with low birth weight, temperature fluctuations, heart rate variability (HRV ), impaired development of the nervous system, decreased head and chest circumference, hyperactivity and speech problems in the baby.

Elevated TSH levels during pregnancy are associated with preterm labor, intrauterine growth restriction, and other problems such as preeclampsia, pregnancy loss, and antepartum bleeding. HRV levels indicate the cardiovascular health of the fetus; Alterations in HRV are a reflection of developmental changes in the neonatal nervous system.

conclusion

The study findings show that EMF radiation from smartphones and other electronic devices has a profound negative impact on the well-being of the pregnant mother and child. However, the smartphones used were not standardized. in vitro Studies and studies with insignificant results conducted in adults with self-reported data were included in this review, which decreased the generalisability of the results.

Future studies considering the effects of high and low frequencies of EMF radiation should be conducted with conclusive evidence on changes in various pregnancies and physiological parameters at different stages of pregnancy. Healthcare workers should assess the effects of EMF radiation on pregnant women to ensure a safe pregnancy.

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