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Lead & Pregnancy

Who is at risk?

Pregnant women are at high risk of transferring lead to the foetus. In pregnant women, lead in the bloodstream can cross the placenta into the foetus’s blood.

What is the risk to my unborn child’s health?

The developing unborn foetus is at greatest risk of health issues from elevated blood lead levels as lead is toxic to the human body. If a pregnant women has elevated blood lead levels, the lead will transfer to your unborn baby through your placenta, causing the foetus to have elevated blood lead levels, if you and your developing unborn child is exposed to high levels of lead they are at risk of developing the following health issues:

  • May cause premature births
  • May increase the chances of miscarriage
  • May causes growth difficulties in the foetus
  • May affect the development of organs systems such as the brain and central nervous systems
  • May cause hearing and cognitive impairment, at this stage the child’s brain is developing, lead may cause irreversible intelligence loss, causing lower IQ

How do I reduce the risk to my unborn child?

It is essential that pregnant women and women trying for a baby make sure you reduce the risk of elevated blood lead levels in you and the foetus by incorporating our key messages – Wet Wipe, Wash & Eat Well into your daily routines:

  • Wet wipe all kitchen benches and work tops to remove lead dust, especially before preparing meals and snacks for you and your family. Use a wet cloth and rinse the cloth regularly.
  • Wet mop all hard floor surfaces to remove the amount of lead dust that you can pick up. Regularly rinse the mop during cleaning.
  • Wash your hands especially before preparing your meals. It is essential that you wash and dry your hands regularly throughout the day, especially before eating, after working outside and petting animals.
  • Eat well, an empty stomach will absorb more lead than a full stomach, so make sure you eat regular healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. There are 5 main vitamins and minerals that assist the body to reduce lead absorption, the Lead Alliance has developed many healthy eating recipe books to assist, information on diet and lead absorption is available on this site: DIET AND LEAD ABSORPTION.
  • Information on how to reduce the amount of lead dust in your home is available on this site: LEAD AND YOUR HOME.