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PLoS One. 2014 Jun 30;9(6):e101050. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101050. eCollection 2014.

Correlation between exposure to magnetic fields and embryonic development in the first trimester.

Author information

Clinical and Translational Research Center, Shanghai First Maternity and Infant Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, PR China.
Department of Reproductive Epidemiology and Social Science, National Population and Family Planning Key Laboratory of Contraceptive Drugs and Devices, Shanghai Institute of Planned Parenthood Research, Shanghai, PR China.
Department of Child and Adolescent Health, School of Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Maternal and Child Hospital of Xuhui District, Shanghai, PR China.
Division of Research, Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, California, United States of America.
Children's Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Fifth People's Hospital of Shanghai, School of Medicine, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Erratum in

  • PLoS One. 2014;9(10):e111008.



To explore the correlation between maternal magnetic field (MF) exposure in daily life and embryonic development.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among 149 pregnant women who were seeking induced abortion of unwanted pregnancies. Participating women were asked to wear an EMDEX Lite magnetic field meter for a 24-h period to obtain MF exposure level within 4 weeks following the abortion. Embryonic bud and sac lengths were measured through B-mode ultrasound before the surgical abortion. Embryo sections were prepared and examined for histological changes, and the apoptosis status of the deciduas was examined using the TUNEL apoptosis assay.


Embryonic bud length was inversely associated with maternal daily MF exposure level; the association was statistically significant at the time-weighted-average and 75th percentile of MF exposure levels, with coefficients of -3.09 (P = 0.0479) and -3.07 (P = 0.0228), respectively. Logistic regression for examining the risk of higher MF exposure indicated that women with her 75th percentile of daily MF measurements ≥0.82 mG had a 3.95-fold risk of having a fetus with a shorter embryonic bud length than those whose daily MF exposure were <0.82 mG. MF exposure was associated with a higher degree of apoptosis, but the association was not statistically significant. We failed to find a statistical correlation between MF exposure and embryonic sac length and histological changes in the first trimester.


Prenatal MF exposure may have an adverse effect on embryonic development.

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