The list of do’s and don’t s during pregnancy seem to be never-ending. Every little things in everyday life comes under scrutiny as to whether it is safe for the fetus or not. The microwave oven is not an exception to this rule. The main concern regarding microwaves is its electromagnetic radiation which is found to be harmful for the developing fetus. Though there has been no conclusive study over this, still, radiations are indeed an important factor to consider.
What Can Be The Risk Of Radiation?
A developing fetus is very susceptible to any strong outside component that the mother may be exposed to. Electromagnetic radiations are created by electromagnetic fields. If strong electromagnetic radiations reach the mother, they can affect the baby inside the womb . High level exposure of radiations has been associated with genetic defects, spontaneous abortions and birth defects. Apart from the above, cell death, miscarriages, malnourished babies etc. are the other risks. The risks are usually more in the first trimester as the fetus starts developing during this time. In the first trimester excessive radiations can cause miscarriage. In the later stages it can affect the central nervous system of the fetus.
Are Microwaves Safe?
The electromagnetic radiations found in microwaves is non-ionizing radiations. Such radiations are found in objects of daily use like television, radio, computers etc. Extensive studies have been done on this and the results are not conclusive. Generally, the risk from such radiations are minimal, and in some cases it is non-existent. Hence microwave radiations do not pose as a threat to pregnant women. In order to do some substantial damage, the level of radiations has to be extremely high [which is generally not found even if all the appliances are put together] and the frequency of exposure should be repeated over a long period of time.
But, the above rule is applicable only if the microwave is being used properly and is in a proper shape. The only possible threat from microwaves can be if the microwave is leaking radiations. If one uses an old and broken microwave which leaks radiation or uses the oven with its door open, then the harm from radiations can be substantial. One can easily find out if there is a leak by putting a paper in the door of the microwave and then trying to pull it out. If it comes out easily, then there is probably a leak. Microwave radiations are odorless and invisible and hence are very hard to detect. They can also travel a long distance in a short time. So, one should make sure that the radiations are not leaking.
Thus, it can be said that, if used properly, microwave ovens are safe during pregnancy. Still, for safety, it is better not to stand near it for a very long time. And if the appliance is old and leaking radiations, one should promptly opt for a new one.