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Cell phone use has always been controversial, especially in light of the untimely deaths of CEO Reginald F Lewis of Beatrice Foods, Inc and legal-eagle Johnny Cochrane. Lewis died of a brain hemorrhage at age 50 in 1993 and Cochrane died of brain cancer in 2005. The unexpected deaths of both man were shocking and rumored to have been associated with cell phone use although never proven.

Wireless technology poses interesting challenges for all of us, but particularly pregnant women. A recent small study out of New York City suggests that repeated use of cell phones can startle unborn babies and interrupt their sleep patterns but the researchers don’t know if this is significant.  Dr. Boris Petrikovsky, head of the Maternal Fetal Center at Wycoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York tested pregnant female resident physicians to determine whether the use of cell phones and beepers were affected their pregnancies. Petrikovsky concluded that the babies “were not happy campers” when their sleep is interrupted.

If unborn babies are anything like children and adults, the lack of sleep can have dire consequences according to experts and celebrities such as Arianna Huffington whose sleep deprivation caused a personal injury. Huffington wrote a book up the incident and offers a course called Thrive in association with Oprah Winfrey.

Aside from sleep deprivation, do cell phones cause any other problems for unborn babies? Dr. High Taylor, Chair of the Ob-Gyn Department at Yale University says yes, there’s a possible association between excessive cell phone use and hyperactivity of mice in his previous research study. He thinks that if mice are hyperactive after excessive cell phone use, children might be as well. He also associates behavioral problems with excessive cell phone use.

So, what’s a mother to do? Here are some tips based on current research:

  • Don’t keep your cell phone near your pregnant belly
  • Limit your time on the cell phone.
  • Use a “safe headset” such as a “Blue Tube” (not Blue Tooth).
  • Get on the mailing list of the “The Baby Safe Project” where you can receive updated information regarding this very important topic

Remember, a healthy pregnancy doesn’t just happen. It takes a smart mother who knows what to do.