Avoiding alcohol, supplementing your diet, refining your exercise routine and scrutinising the ingredients of your toiletries are increasingly all common practise in the quest to give your baby the very best start in life. And yet, whilst we cast a careful eye over everything we put in and on our pregnant bodies, how many of us consider the effects of technology – and with it, the growing sea of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) - that now surrounds us on a daily basis?
Just as lifestyle adjustments can boost your health and make your pregnancy a more enjoyable experience, being aware of the impact that EMF radiation can have on both your own and your baby’s wellbeing allows you to make informed decisions on how to interact with technology at this important time.
With this in mind, we’ve assembled five simple tips to significantly reduce your exposure to EMF radiation during pregnancy, and to help your growing family find a healthy balance with tech.
1. Keep your distance
Numerous scientific studies have shown that exposure to electromagnetic radiation has a biological impact, affecting cell function and growth. During pregnancy, when a foetus is busy blossoming into a fully formed human being, complex cell development is happening at lightning-quick speed - leading many health experts to believe that this vulnerable stage in a baby’s life represents the period of greatest risk when it comes to the impact of EMF radiation.
According to research (1) carried out by the Chinese Institute for Environmental Health, electromagnetic exposure during the first term of pregnancy can even be associated with “the risk of embryo growth ceasing”. Scientists involved in the study concluded that pregnant women should avoid using devices such as mobile phones for prolonged periods, and should strive to maintain as much distance as possible between themselves and their devices to minimise any harmful effects.
The strength of electromagnetic radiation reduces exponentially the further away you are from the source, so always keep your bump as far away from any EMF-emitting sources as you can. Laptops, phones and tablets tend to be the worst culprits here, as they’re the ones we keep closest to our bodies. Rest laptops on desks rather than your knees, and never keep phones in pockets. If you’re making a phone call, use anti-radiation airtube headphones or have the phone on speaker setting and keep it held away from your body.
2. Reducing exposure to EMFs could reduce the risk of miscarriage
In the early stages of pregnancy, the fear of miscarriage is very real. Studies show (2) that one in five pregnancies will end this way – usually within the first 7 weeks. Whilst further research is needed, some scientists have uncovered (3) a potential link between increased exposure to electromagnetic radiation and the loss of a foetus. According to a 2017 study (4) of over 900 pregnant women by the National institute of Environmental Health Sciences, those who were exposed to higher levels of electromagnetic radiation (from sources ranging from cell towers to smart phones) were almost three times more likely to miscarry than those with lower levels of exposure. Whilst the study doesn’t go so far as to cite EMF radiation as a direct cause of miscarriage, it does establish a connection between the two.
Technology is, of course, an unavoidable and often indispensable part of modern life, so before you throw your smartphone out of the window and move into the nearest cave – we want to stress that this isn’t about overhauling your entire routine. By simply becoming more conscious of when and how you use technology (are you guilty of checking your phone first and last thing? How about aimlessly browsing whilst sat on the sofa, or the bus to work?) you can start to proactively reduce the amount of time you spend in the vicinity of electromagnetic radiation.
It might seem obvious, but just by cutting down the overall time you spend on wireless devices each day during pregnancy, you will dramatically reduce your own and your unborn baby’s exposure to EMF radiation, and any negative health implications that come with it.
3. Treat sleep as sacred
Getting plenty of rest is vital for a happy and healthy pregnancy, and yet the changes occurring in your body and the symptoms they can cause – from nausea to heartburn, back ache and cramps – may make getting a solid night’s sleep frustratingly elusive.
As your bump grows and your ability to drift off diminishes, anything that optimises your chances of enjoying some soothing rest should be a welcome addition to your nightly routine.
To help make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary, we advise reducing (where possible) any exposure to sources of harmful electromagnetic radiation, whether that’s a smart phone, a wireless baby monitor, a laptop or a tablet. Always keep your Wi-Fi router out of your bedroom and turn off (or switch to airplane mode) all your wireless devices at night to safeguard your precious pregnancy sleep.
4. Ditch non-essential tech
When you’re trying to reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation during pregnancy, an easy way to start is to stick to the real tech ‘essentials’ over the ‘nice-to-haves’.
Wearable tech might sound cool, but do you really need to download photos to your watch or continually count your every step? Pregnancy is the perfect time to weigh up the pros and cons of the devices you may have unconsciously surrounded yourself with. Anything you can do to give your system a break - like getting rid of superfluous gadgets that pulse your body with unnecessary EMF radiation - is a good idea when you’re growing a baby inside you.
5. Actively shield your bump
A 2008 survey (5) of over 13,000 Danish mothers found that women who used their mobile phones frequently during pregnancy were more likely to have children presenting with behavioural problems (such as hyperactivity and attention disorders) by the time they reached school age. When a later study (6) looked at a broader, separate group of 29,000 children, they similarly found that by age 7, there was a significant increase in behavioural issues for children who had experienced “regular exposure” to mobile phones whilst in the womb – compared with those who had received no exposure. Intriguingly, maternal exposure to electromagnetic radiation has also been cited (7) as a potential factor in an increased risk of childhood obesity.
One way of shielding your unborn baby and helping to ensure their healthy development in the womb is to use protective clothing and accessories during pregnancy. These innovative products are specially designed to protect your bump and create a barrier between your body and electromagnetic radiation waves. You can browse our wide array of clever EMF protection products and convenient family-focused packages here.