Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

Cell Phones Risky During Pregnancy?

Unlikely Finding: More Bad Behavior at Age 7 if Mom, Child Used Cell Phone
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 21, 2008 -- Mothers who use cell phones during pregnancy -- and let their small children use cell phones -- increase their child's risk of serious behavior problems by 80%.

Or maybe not.

"This is just a statistical association. We don't know if it is causal or not," study researcher Jorn Olsen, PhD, tells WebMD. Olsen is professor and chair of epidemiology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health.

The finding comes from a survey of mothers of 13,159 Danish children enrolled in a long-term study looking at how various exposures during pregnancy affect children's long-term health. At the time of the current survey, the children were 7 years old.

Questions about cell phone use were included in the survey because the World Health Organization has asked for more studies about the possible health effects of the ubiquitous devices.

The unexpected finding linking cell phone use during pregnancy to behavior problems doesn't prove cell phone exposure affects children. It may simply be the result of unmeasured "confounding" factors, warn study researchers and colleagues.

If true, however, the effect would be quite strong -- similar to the twofold increased risk of behavior problems seen in the children of mothers who smoke during early pregnancy and somewhat less than the threefold increased risk of behavior problems linked to alcohol use during pregnancy.

Kids whose mothers used cell phones while pregnant had a 54% higher risk of behavior problems -- emotional problems, hyperactivity, conduct problems, and peer problems. Kids who used cell phones themselves had an 18% higher risk of behavior problems. And kids with both exposures had an 80% higher risk of behavior problems.

Cell Phone/Pregnancy Risk "Would Not Go Away"

Because they had no reason to suspect that cell phones cause behavior problems, Olsen and colleagues thought there had to be some kind of mistake.

"We tried to make it go away by controlling for smoking, which does explain behavior problems. We corrected for social issues, and for alcohol use, and mothers' psychiatric diagnoses, and it did not go away," Olsen says. "So we were left with this. Then we said, well, we'd better publish this and see if anybody else can confirm these findings."

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Woman looking at pregnancy test
Quiz
 
calendar and baby buggy
Tool
dark chocolate squares
Slideshow