New Delhi: A new study has suggested that pregnant mothers who use mobile phones regularly are likely to give birth to kids with behavioural problems, especially if those children start using mobile phones early themselves.
The study enrolled nearly 100,000 pregnant women between 1996 and 2002, with the intention of tracking their kids` long-term health.
The mothers supplied detailed information on their lifestyle, dietary and environmental factors during and after pregnancy.
When their children reached the age of 7, the mums were quizzed again about their and their kids` health, including behaviour, which were scored using validated assessments. They were also asked to provide details of their mobile phone use during pregnancy and their kids` mobile phone use.
In the new group, more than a third (35 per cent) of the 7-year-olds were using a mobile phone compared with 30 per cent of the previous group. And whereas around one in 10 children of the previous group were jointly exposed to mobile phones before and after birth, this applied to 17 per cent of the new group.
In both groups, around 3 per cent of children were considered to have borderline behavioural problems, and similar proportions were categorised as exhibiting abnormal behaviour.
Children in both groups exposed to mobile phones before and after birth were 50 per cent more likely to have behavioural problems, after taking account of a wide range of influential factors.
Those exposed to mobile phones before birth only were 40 per cent more likely to have behavioural problems, while those with no prenatal exposure but with access to them by the age of 7 were 20 per cent more likely to exhibit abnormal behaviours.
"Although it is premature to interpret these results as causal, we are concerned that early exposure to cell phones could carry a risk, which, if real, would be of public health concern given the widespread use of this technology," the researchers concluded.
The findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health .