Pregnancy can be trying at times and not just because of the morning sickness, cravings, and hormonal changes. It means not just being concerned with our own health, but the health of the little one growing inside of you. It means taking extra precautions toward optimal health.
Enter Belly Armor, a belly tee, belly band, and belly blanket that claim to offer shielding protection from everyday non-ionizing radiation. It started to gain popularity in San Francisco and now it’s spreading to the rest of the country. But is it effective? And is there anything to be concerned about in the first place?
The Difference Between Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation
First off, the difference between ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation becomes an important point to define. Ionizing radiation is high frequency radiation which comes in the form of x-ray machines, diagnostic machines, fluoroscopy, or radiation therapy. It’s powerful enough to free an electron from its atom or molecule, producing free radicals. Your DNA is susceptible to damage through these produced free radicals.
Non-ionizing radiation, the radiation that Belly Armor claims to protect against, is much lower frequency. We’re bathed in it everyday in the form of common appliances, radios, televisions, radar, high voltage power lines, certain burglar alarms, electric blankets, cell phones, tablets, and laptops. It’s low frequency with long wave lengths. High levels of non-ionizing radiation are associated with, but not scientifically proven to cause genetic damage, spontaneous abortion, and birth defects in healthy mothers.
Real Dangers of Non-Ionizing Radiation
Because non-ionizing radiation doesn’t contain enough energy to remove the electrons from their atom it doesn’t produce the free radicals necessary to cause genetic damage in the same way that ionizing radiation does. Both the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have said that non-ionizing radiation is completely safe, according to an article written on Time.com.
But fears of such radiation are relevant and have been brought front and center through studies on cell phones and their link to cancer. Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a form of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation that can be absorbed into the tissues closest to where the phone is held. So I wouldn’t discount the dangers of excessive non-ionizing radiation just yet.
One controversial study conducted in Denmark did find a correlation between cell phone use by pregnant women and behavioral issues in their babies. But the study did not find causation, just a correlation.
What's Belly Armor?
Belly Armor ‘s blanket, band, and t-shirt are made with RadiaShield technology, to block any dangers associated with such radiation. It "protect[s] your pregnant belly from incoming electromagnetic waves, canceling out the ambient radiation and reducing radiation exposure." While Belly Armor may be effective at blocking non-ionizing radiation, I've seen no scientific studies to provide proof either way.
Since non-ionizing radiation is absolutely everywhere, blocking it completely is impossible, though Belly Armor may provide at least partial blockage from some of it. It seems to me a focus on getting enough rest, a healthy diet, maintaining a low stress level, and cutting back on cell phone use would be much more important.