I’m worried because we recently moved into an older home that may have some lead paint and I just found out that I’m pregnant. Should I be concerned about exposing my baby to lead?
If your home was built before 1978, it could have lead-based paint. A pregnant woman's exposure to high lead levels can be hazardous to the baby, because lead in a mother's blood can easily cross the placenta to the fetus.
Lead poisoning can affect almost every system in the body. Even low levels of lead in a child's blood can cause subtle problems with behavior and learning. Lead in paint can cause problems when it is chipping, peeling, or is removed. Even opening a window that previously had lead paint on it can release lead dust that can be inhaled or settle on hands and food. Some homes (old and new) may also have lead pipes or copper piping with lead solder that can allow lead to enter the tap water.
If you have an older home or are concerned about lead exposure, get a professional to test your water, the dust in your home, the soil outside, and the paint around your home for lead.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The EPA is the government agency that works to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.|
|Pregnancy Precautions: FAQs Questions regarding what you can and can't do during pregnancy abound. Knowing what could truly be harmful to your baby versus what's no real cause for concern is key to keeping your sanity throughout the 40 weeks.|
|Blood Test: Lead In babies and young kids whose brains are still developing, even a small amount of lead can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems. A lead test can determine the amount of lead in the blood.|
|Lead Poisoning Long-term exposure to lead can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids, so it's important to find out whether your child might be at risk for lead exposure.|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|How Do I Get My Child Tested for Lead Poisoning? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|How Can We Tell if Our Home's Paint Contains Lead? Find out what the expert have to say.|
|Pica Some young kids have the eating disorder pica, which is characterized by persistent and compulsive cravings to eat nonfood items.|
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