I was a fairly relaxed mother-to-be during each of my three pregnancies. I didn't even try to follow the overwrought "Best-Odds Diet" popularized by the blockbuster What to Expect When You're Expecting, for example, preferring my normal, reasonably healthy diet, including grateful consumption of calcium-rich ice cream, which my obstetricians kindly included on their list of excellent foods for pregnancy. But I did develop one odd habit: Whenever I used my microwave, I never stood directly in front of the machine as it hummed along, just in case those waves of instantaneous heat could harm my baby.
My microwave avoidance seems silly today, as I read about the potentially dire effects of radiation exposure on pregnant women and their fetuses in Japan's earthquake-devastated north, where damage to a nuclear reactor has caused an ongoing crisis. Experts warn that unborn fetuses are particularly vulnerable to the effects of radiation, which their mothers can breathe in or ingest through tainted ...1