Does electromagnetic field hurt the unborn child?
In an industrialized world, we are surrounded by electromagnetic fields (EMF). In the last decade, the health effects of EMF have been intensively studied especially in connection with mobile phones and cancer. Less studied but nonetheless very important are the possible effects of EMF on the unborn child.
One group which has been active in studying the effects of EMF on pregnancy are consists of researchers from the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute in Oakland, California. In 2002, they studied women who were residents of San Francisco and less than 10 weeks pregnant. The study participants were given an EMF-measuring meter to be worn for 24 hours. The results showed that exposure to EMF during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and above a certain threshold (approximately 16 mG) is associated with a higher risk for spontaneous abortion or miscarriage.
A more recent report by researchers at McGill University, Montreal gives even more troubling news. The study looked at 548 cases of childhood brain tumors and reviewed the extremely low frequency of electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) exposure of the mothers before and during pregnancy. ELF is the EMF that comes from power lines and electrical appliances. The study showed that many pregnant women were exposed to ELF at work (example: sewing machine operators). This exposure translated to an increased risk in brain tumor development in their babies.
Exposure to EMF happens everyday and it is almost impossible to avoid it even if you try. Many of us can’t live with our mobile phones, our black berries, our laptop, or the microwave oven. I remember when I was pregnant with my twins and bedridden, I used my laptop while lying/sitting in bed. I didn’t know about EMF then, though I tried to cover my tummy with a pillow or a thick blanket, hoping the machine wouldn’t harm my babies. Knowing what I know now, I would have taken more precautionary measures.