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Protecting your unborn child from radiation

(40 Posts)
redhead13 Wed 25-Jun-08 12:09:01

Hey there,

I'm pregnant with my first baby and having heard so much about Wi-Fi, radiation from mobile phones etc. I was wondering if anybody knew how to protect an unborn child from it?

I know that Japanese women for instance don't use mobiles or computers etc. during their entire pregnancy and find this not very practible myself as I work in an office.

What can I do or use to protect my baby?

Looking forward to your replies.

Take care,

cass66 Wed 25-Jun-08 12:44:25

I've tried really hard not to answer this, so I will try not to be too facetious.

Is there any real evidence or research to back this up, or is just the usual Daily Mail scare story???

you will hear hundreds of dos and don'ts in pregnancy, most of them with no sound evidence or reason behind them. the best advice is to ignore them and do what feels right for you.

(or wear lead lined pants and lock yourself in a lead lined room for 9 months.)

oh well, I tried! Cass.

PrettyCandles Wed 25-Jun-08 12:50:50

I think this may be an instance where you juyst have to live with a reasonable compromise. For example, you may choose to eat organically and not use cosmetics or drugs throughout your pregnancy in order to protect the baby from unnecessary chemical exposure, yet if you live in a city you are breathing in a cocktail of chemicals every minute of your life. So you have to be practical.

When I was pg with my first child there was a lot of discussion going on aobut how safe mobile phones were. I remember seeing images of various changes (I don't recall what they were, temperature, etc I presume) that occur in the immediate environment of a switched-on mobile phone. Nobody knew what these changes might mean. Ity seemed to me reasonable, therefore, not to carry my mobile in my pocket or on my belt, as the changes were greatest within a various short distance of the phone. Beyond that, I made no other changes WRT radiation.

FWIW, and for the same reason, I don't allow my LOs to talk on the mobile for longer than 1 minute, max.

HalfFrench Wed 25-Jun-08 12:53:27

I undertake pregnancy risk assessments at work and get this question asked every time.

Radiation is quite a complex subject in that there are different types of radiation that have a sliding scale of what damage they can do to the human body. Every electrical item in your house and office will emit some some level of radiation so to avoid it totally is not practicable for people living and working in a modern environment.

What you need to avoid is levels of radiation proven to cause harm to the fetus and if you work somewhere where this could present a risk then you need to speak to your manager about undertaking a suitable risk assessment.

Hope this helps.

mrsboogie Wed 25-Jun-08 13:28:26

It is sensible to avoid things that are known to be significant potential risks to a feotus - no x-rays, no getting drunk, no doing drugs or smoking, not too much caffeine, no cleaning out the cat's litter tray, no eating certain foods etc etc. Apart form that there is no point in worrying about things where the risk is unknown or unquantified - you can only act on the basis of a full understanding of the level of risk presented by any particualar hazard. You could be fretting away about using your mobile phone once or twice while exposing your unborn child to any amount of other risks (traffic fumes, for example) which might be far worse but unavoidable or unknown at this time.

TheBundleR Wed 25-Jun-08 13:30:33

bit of a sweeping statement to say japanese women don't use phones/computers during pg hmm

slinkiemalinki Wed 25-Jun-08 13:40:27

Yes I can't believe that is correct!
Agreed - don't keep your phone in your pocket, sit with a laptop on your lap or have x-rays - and cabin crew etc are grounded in the first 12 weeks (a fairly extreme example) as flights involve quite a bit of radiation - but otherwise, don't beat yourself up about it. You can't live like the Savage and nor will your baby be able to... that's just modern life.

niveanavaho Thu 26-Jun-08 00:25:09

Agree that there are enough things to worry about when pregnant and that avoiding things that are known risks is sensible. However, the effects of prolonged exposure to radiation from phones and wifi computers is a known unknown. So avoid or ignore? Depends on the individual and level of normal use I guess.

I read in the paper about a businessman, who was worried about his son's fertility owing to his use of wifi laptops, who was investing in producing protective underpants. This was around the same time as there was a programme on telly about electrosmog that said the Swedes don't allow school children to sit in front of wifi enabled computers as the radiation is higher than mobile phones. So also thought the same as redhead13, even if the jury is out here, is there the equivalent of protective underwear for pregnant women who use wifi? Through reading articles on the net came across - unfortunate name perhaps, but the technical material used apparently reflects radiation away "minimising radiation risk". Don't know if this is the same material that went into the boxer shorts.

Alexa808 Thu 26-Jun-08 04:52:22

redhead, good question. I think in our modern times there's no possible way to totally shield yourself and your baby from radiation. Think of all comms (mobile, WiFi, satellite TV, military comms, etc.)

I heard about the heating up of body parts close to mobile phones which are in use and agree that it is possibly wise to limit your exposure to them.

HalfFrench, may I ask you a question (other opinions also welcome): Dh and I recently saw a lovely apartment out here in Singapore. We were about to put an offer in, turned around to walk out of the courtyard only to face about 3 massive white satellite dishes: earth uplinks for Singtel's telecommunication and Tv connection. Huge (100 meters width each) about 400 m away from the house.

What do you think? Are they harmful? I know the beam is bundled up towards the sky in the middle, but I wasn't sure. I'm 6 mths pregnant and with a small baby I don't want to take too many risks.

Any ideas?

SqueakyPop Thu 26-Jun-08 05:39:40


Do we mean all kinds of radiation or just ionising readiation?

Alexa808 Thu 26-Jun-08 06:41:48

all kinds of radiation. as far as I know microwaves and radiowaves are non-ionizing radiation.

Medical ionizing radiation is definitely harmful if inappropriately used or accidents occur. There's no doubt about that.

My question is re the big satellite dishes which bundle information to the satellites and receive info back. And those big telecomms and military comms towers of about 30 m height don't seem to be fine, either.

E.g. smoke detectors use ionized gases. Ionized by radiation.

SqueakyPop Thu 26-Jun-08 06:54:29

The radiation from smoke detectors is stopped by smoke particles getting between the source and detector. They are some distance away from people, so there is no way the radiation could possibly be harmful. Indeed, we use them because they enhance our safety.

SqueakyPop Thu 26-Jun-08 07:12:09

Satellite dishes and transmitters are sending their communications into space, not to the ground.

Whatever 'escapes' is subject to the 'inverse square rule - the energy dimishes very rapidly with distance.

SqueakyPop Thu 26-Jun-08 07:12:10

Satellite dishes and transmitters are sending their communications into space, not to the ground.

Whatever 'escapes' is subject to the 'inverse square rule - the energy dimishes very rapidly with distance.

star6 Thu 26-Jun-08 07:20:40

ahhhhhh I'm sitting here with a laptop on my lap and have been every night being pg for nearly 25 weeks!!!!!! I always put a pillow on my lap first, then the laptop... you think that protects? Now paranoid!

Alexa808 Thu 26-Jun-08 07:37:19

Ah, thanx SQP, I didn't know that. Interesting!

Expectant Thu 26-Jun-08 07:52:44

<Hijack> Alexa - hope all is well - just wondering how you are getting on. Are the cats sorted yet?

belgo Thu 26-Jun-08 07:56:02

It's very hard to know what's totally safe and what's not. For instance I've had people point their remote control car keys at me while pointing it at their car behind me - I find that a bit freaky.

I don't keep my mobile phone in my pocket.

Whizzz Thu 26-Jun-08 08:10:08

Your workplace risk assessment should highlight any areas of concern & put suitable contol measures in place to protect both you & the baby. Make sure you talk about your concerns with whoever is carrying it o ut for you

Alexa808 Thu 26-Jun-08 10:48:41

<Hijack> Hello expectant, how are you? All well? I tried emailing you, thing bounced back. Mine is auric1 @ gmx dot net

Ahhh, no, ze little critters, zey are not here yet sad Have contacted Pet Air UK and am ging to AVA on Maxwell Rd. tom for urgent permit (I'm so late...)

I hope they can come over on the 7th or 8th of July! I really miss them. Am so worried how they'll cope with the flight. They'll prob. be traumatised.

DH has mentioned the unthinable: what if one of them died angry How bloody dare he worry me so much!

Wish me luck. I shall post on Overseas section once they are safely in my arms smile

Expectant Thu 26-Jun-08 11:43:42


Good to hear from you. Will try your e-mail again as did try before but it was from the office so might have been spammed or something.

Hope that all goes ok with cat transfer. Your DH shouldn't say things like that at this point angry at that.

All well with me except I think baby is going to be a big one (certainly by Singapore standards) smile

staranise Thu 26-Jun-08 12:15:33

I know nothing about radiation but I work 1-2 days a week from home with my wifi-laptop on my lap. if it gets hot I put it on top of a pillow. I'm 17 weeks pg. For various reasons it's not practical for me to work at a desk.

Am I not meant to do this? I thought radiation poisoning only mattered if you dealt were X-rays or were an air hostess etc.

I have a relatively laidback attitude to risks in pg, but even so, don't want to expose baby to anything harmful on a regular basis.

lululemonrefuser Thu 26-Jun-08 12:36:56

Hang on though, won't the radiation given out by wifi and mobile phones be of just the same kind as a TV mast broadcasts? That must be at a much higher intensity that wifi or mobiles (think of the range of TV broadcasts - there aren't many masts for the whole country!) That doesn't seem to have done anyone terrible harm over the past 60 years.

SheherazadetheGoat Thu 26-Jun-08 12:39:52

you could wear a lead apron for your pregnancy but it might be a bit heavy.

HalfFrench Thu 26-Jun-08 13:52:31

Alexa - to measure radiation dosage in a satisfactory manner requires some sophisticated equipment (which I am not qualified to use!!) so it not possible to answer your question with an outright yes or no these satelites present a risk or don't. Bear in mind that extensive epidimiological studies on cancer clusters blamed on mobile phone masts, pylons etc don't always come up with conclusive findings either.

Instead here is a link to the relevant HSE page which gives good all round information on the risks of ionizing and non ionizing radition and what people should be aware of in the workplace.

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