Risk of Miscarriage
Research has found evidence tying magnetic field exposure—especially from video display terminals such as those in laptops and televisions—to increased risk of miscarriage. Proximity to power lines has also been linked to miscarriage. In both cases, the associations are especially strong for early stage pregnancies.
In addition to caffeine, smoking, and alcohol, the American Pregnancy Association cites radiation as a potential contributor to the risk of miscarriage and recommends avoiding radiation to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
In 2007, the World Health Organization assessed the following risk of miscarriage, “Overall, the studies on residential ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) magnetic field exposure have provided some limited evidence for increased miscarriage risk associated with magnetic field exposure.”
Computers and Laptops
Today, it is difficult to gauge the risk of miscarriage from computers and laptops. While radiation levels from computers have decreased since the times of the large, bulky cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors, our usage habits have changed dramatically as well. With the advent of the internet and the growing role that personal computers play in our lives at the office, school, and at home, expectant mothers today spend more time in front of radiation-emitting screens than ever before.
In 2008 laptop sales surpassed desktop sales for the first time. With this change, we brought the radiation-emitting components of computers much closer to our bodies—they now rest on our lap or chest instead of a desk.
Because these changes in behavior are so recent, it is impossible to determine their long-term health effects. However, because the potential risk of miscarriage from this type of exposure is higher than ever before, experts have advised expectant women to take precautions to protect their developing children.
Over 5 million people in the US suffer from infertility. In 2010, the average couple attempting conception has about a 20% chance of conceiving per menstrual cycle. In addition to studies that have linked radiation to an increased risk of miscarriage, there is evidence that radiation negatively impacts fertility in both men and women.