Sunday, April 30, 2023

Blood lead levels in pregnant and lactating women.. miscarriage. stillbirth. low birth weight. preterm labor occur

Blood lead levels in pregnant and lactating women:

Lead is toxic and particularly harmful to the developing nervous system. Lead can be passed through the placenta from a pregnant woman to the fetus or through breast milk to the baby.
To minimize the risk of lead to you and your baby, take a moment to learn how to achieve a safe, lead-free environment.

Is there anything I can do to reduce my exposure to lead during my pregnancy?

Yes, you can avoid exposure to any known source of lead before and during pregnancy.

  • If you have to work with lead or have hobbies such as jewelry making or stained glass crafts, ask your health care provider to test your blood for lead.
  • If you are making improvements to an older home that has lead-based paint, make sure the people who are working on it follow safety procedures to protect you and your family from lead exposure. About 75% of homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. The older your home is built, the more likely it is to contain lead-based paint.
  • Water from public sources is regularly tested for lead. You can get information about drinking water from your local board of health. Homes that use well water should have their water tested for lead for possible contaminants. See: Lead in Home Tap Water and Plumbing: Frequently Asked Questions for Parents .
  • Eat your meals regularly and eat frequently. Environmental lead is more easily absorbed into your bloodstream and stays in your body if you have an empty stomach.
  • A diet low in calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E may be associated with increased amounts of lead absorbed into your bloodstream. Therefore, it is important for pregnant women to eat a balanced diet and take prenatal vitamins.

Is there a test that tells us how much lead we have been exposed to?

Yes, a blood lead test can be done to see how much lead is present. Although most people have some lead in their blood, levels over 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL) indicate lead exposure that should be treated.

While there is no safe level of lead in the body, the goal is to keep it as low as possible.
Women who have been exposed to lead in the past should have their lead levels checked.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend lead testing for pregnant and lactating women who have one or more of the risk factors for lead exposure and increased blood lead levels.
  • Recent immigration (from an area where lead contamination is high).
  • Live near a source of lead (for example, lead mines, smelters, battery recycling plants, home remodeling).
  • Pica syndrome (ie, compulsive consumption of non-food products).
  • Occupational exposures (for example, painters, those exposed to batteries or radiators, or living with someone who works in the lead industry).
  • Environmental exposures (for example, lead-contaminated soil, water, or food).
  • Use of cosmetics containing lead.
  • Storing or firing with lead-glazed pottery utensils.
  • Use of herbal/alternative medicine.

What effects can lead have on my baby?

The most serious effects that high lead levels can cause during pregnancy are miscarriage and stillbirth. Other pregnancy problems such as low birth weight and preterm labor can also occur.

In addition, high levels of lead in the mother can also cause learning and behavior problems in exposed babies.

Exposure to lead during pregnancy is unlikely to significantly increase the risk of serious birth defects.

Is there concern due to lead if I am breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is generally safe for women with high blood lead levels; however, babies of nursing mothers who have high lead levels should be closely watched.

A blood test should be done two weeks after the baseline measurement and at least once a month.

Infants with blood lead levels of 5 µg/dL or higher or rising levels:

An environmental assessment is recommended.

For babies with a blood lead level that remains below 10 µg/dL: 

They should continue to breastfeed.

Talk to your pediatrician:

If you are concerned about blood lead levels while breastfeeding, talk to your pediatrician.