Wi-fi and cellphones increase pregnant women's risk of suffering a miscarriage by nearly 50 percent, new research reveals.
Magnetic field (MF) non-ionizing radiation, which is also given off by power lines and cell towers, has been found in past studies to put a stress on the body, leading to genetic damage that can cause pregnant women to miscarry.
Those exposed to the highest levels of MF radiation are 48 percent more likely to lose their baby than women exposed to the lowest amounts, the US study found.
MF radiation, which everyone is exposed to at some extent, has previously been linked to cancer and has been recommended by the World Health Organization to be studied for its effect on pregnancies.
Miscarriages affect between 15 and 20 percent of pregnancies in the US. They are defined as losing babies less than 20 weeks into their gestation.
Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, California, analyzed 913 pregnant women at varying stages of their gestation.
Some of the study's participants had previously suffered at least one miscarriage.
All of the participants carried an EMDEX Lite meter, which measures MF-radiation exposure, for 24 hours on a typical day.
Their pregnancy outcomes were followed for the duration of their gestation.
Results reveal pregnant women with the highest MF-radiation exposure have a 48 percent greater risk of miscarrying than those with the lowest exposure.
Among pregnant women exposed to the highest levels of MF radiation, 24.2 per cent had a miscarriage compared to 10.4 per cent of those exposed to the lowest amounts.
This risk occurs regardless of whether women have suffered miscarriages in the past and are therefore more likely to lose another baby before its birth.
Lead author Dr De-Kun Li said: 'This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health.
'We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women.'
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Pregnant women can reduce their magnetic field (MF) non-ionizing radiation exposure by:
- Keeping cellphones away from their abdomens and not storing them in clothes pockets.
- Turning Wi-Fi off when it is not in use, particularly while sleeping.
- Keeping cellphones on airplane mood when they are not in use.
- Talking on speakerphone when making calls and keeping them as brief as possible.
- Not using appliances that give off MF non-ionizing radiation when in the car, as levels are already increased.