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Lead Exposure, Pregnancy and Your Children: What You Should Know

As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your child safe, both during and after pregnancy. You eat healthy, stay active and make sure to nurse your baby, and keep it clean and happy. After all, your baby’s health depends on your health. Despite all the care we take, we often forget about things in our environment, which could be harmful in excess. Lead is one such thing, that we don’t realise may be around us, because it is a metal that is found in the ground, air and water, and you cannot see, smell or feel it.

About Lead and Lead Poisoning

Lead is a metal that you cannot see or smell, so it is difficult to spot it in your daily life, and so lead exposure may happen to most people, although on a small scale. But when the concentration is very high, this can have several consequences for you and your baby. So what can you look out for?

- Old and cracking paint.

- Leaded fuel

- Factories and places handling paint, batteries, or automobile repair.

- Contaminated water.

- Dust and sand

Lead Exposure During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most vulnerable times for a woman, because what affects her affects the baby. Lead poisoning is harmful when you’re pregnant, because lead can pass from you to your unborn baby through your blood. This can also lead to miscarriages, premature birth and low birth weight. It can also lead to organ damage and nervous system defects in your baby.

Lead Exposure and Children

Young babies and children can also be affected by lead exposure and lead poisoning. It can lead to abdominal pain and vomiting, irritability, and a loss of appetite. In extreme cases, it can have an impact on their behaviour and IQ score.

Protect yourself and your family

Don’t panic just yet, because you can take some steps to keep your family and yourself safe from lead. Some of these measures may help:

- Avoid painting and sanding while pregnant. If you must paint a room in the house, have someone else do it for you and keep yourself and your little one away from the dust and fumes.

- Avoid leaded fuel. Encourage others to do the same.

- If your partner works in automobile repair, or handles paint and batteries, they should change clothes and shoes before coming home and it is best if they shower immediately to clean off any lead.

- Always carry safe drinking water for yourself and your family, because lead can also be found in contaminated water.

- While your child plays outdoors or in a playground, it can be easy for them to put sand or paint chips in their mouth, so keep an eye on them and discourage such behaviour.

- Encourage safe practices in your children, like washing hands before meals and maintaining hygiene. Make sure that most of the food you and your family eat is healthy and prepared safely.

Take the steps needed to keep yourself and your little one safe. If you are still worried about lead in your homes or other spaces, you can consult a doctor about safety and for other advice.

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