Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Maternal cell phone use in early pregnancy and child's language, communication and motor skills at 3 and 5 years: the Norwegian mother and child cohort study (MoBa) epidem.

Published in: BMC Public Health 2017; 17: 685

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between maternal mobile phone use during first trimester and child's language skills at 3 years as well as communication and motor skills at 3 and 5 years was investigated in a large prospective birth cohort in Norway.

Further details

Early language development of the children at 3 years was assessed by the Dale and Bishop Grammar rating. Communication skills at 3 and 5 years and motor skills at 3 years were assessed by the Ages and Stages questionnaire (ASQ). Motor skills at 5 years were evaluated by the Child Development Inventory questionnaire (CDI).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 mobile phone use: no
Group 2 mobile phone use: yes
Group 3 mobile phone use: low (few times a week)
Group 4 mobile phone use: medium (daily)
Group 5 mobile phone use: high (more than 1 hour daily)


Study size

Type Value
Evaluable 45,389
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Results (acc. to author)

No mobile phone use in early pregnancy was reported by 4428 (9.8%) of women, while 39%, 46.9% and 4.3% of the women were categorized as low, medium and high mobile phone users. Children of mobile phone user mothers (group 2) had 17% lower risk of having low sentence complexity at 3 years (OR 0.83, CI 0.77- 0.89) compared to children of non-users. The risk was 13%, 22% and 29% lower by low (group 3), medium (group 4) and high (group 5) maternal mobile phone use, respectively. Additionally, children of mobile phone users had lower risk of low motor skills score at 3 years compared to the reference group, but this association was not found at 5 years. No association between maternal mobile phone use and low communication skills was observed.
The authors concluded that a decreased risk of low language and motor skills at 3 years was found in relation to prenatal mobile phone use, which might be explained by enhanced maternal-child interaction among mobile phone users. No evidence of adverse neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal mobile phone use was reported.

Study funded by

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