A pregnant woman should not be exposed to lead as it is known to be detrimental to her and her unborn baby’s health. Read on to know the effects of lead exposure during pregnancy as well as ways to prevent the same…
Pregnancy is one time in the life of a woman, when she has to be extra cautious about the way she lives. Reason being that a pregnant woman is not only responsible for herself, but the health of her unborn child as well. That’s why, there are some restrictions with regards to what she should eat, how much physical activity she should undertake, etc, which a pregnant woman has to follow, to keep the baby in her womb safe and sound.
One of the things that a pregnant woman is advised to do, in order to ensure the safety of her child, is to steer clear of harmful chemicals, such as lead, as researches have shown that lead exposure during pregnancy can be hazardous for the baby. Lead is an environmental chemical, which has the ability of passing on from the mother’s blood to the fetus, thus endangering the life of the unborn child. The following HealthHearty article throws light on how lead affects an unborn baby as well as ways to prevent the same. Have a look…
Effects of Lead Exposure
Lead is an environmental chemical, which means that its small traces can be found all around, in the air, dust, certain products like paint, water, food and soil. So, in a way, each one of us is exposed to some amount of lead on a regular basis. However, prolonged exposure can prove to be disastrous. Some of the side effects it can cause are – vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain in abdomen, constipation, tiredness, sleeping problems, headache and irritability. Sometimes, lead can adversely affect the kidneys and cause anemia too. So, you can well imagine if a pregnant woman is exposed to lead and experiences all these symptoms, what kind of effect it will have on her body!
As mentioned earlier, lead can reach the fetus, from the pregnant woman’s blood, by passing right through the placenta. Some of the harmful effects it can have on an unborn child’s health are – reduced weight and size when the baby is born, decreased mental ability, problems in learning and behavior and slow growth. Many of the effects of lead, on a child, can last even when he reaches adulthood. Under some circumstances, where the pregnant woman has been exposed to large amounts of lead and is suffering from lead poisoning, it can produce symptoms such as coma, convulsions and high blood pressure. This can make the pregnant woman really sick, leading to birth complications, such as miscarriage, still birth and premature labor.
How to Prevent Lead Exposure?
A pregnant woman should not live in a house which has been painted with lead-based paint. Before using water, either for cooking or drinking, the tap should be left open for about thirty-forty seconds, so that any accumulated lead can be washed off. When storing foods and beverages in the kitchen, lead glazed utensils should never ever be used. In case, any family member of the pregnant woman is working at a place where he is exposed to lead, he should be asked to take bath and change his clothes, immediately upon reaching home, so that he does not carry along traces of lead with him.
You will be surprised to know that each one of us has lead stored in our bones, along with calcium, yet it is only when a woman gets pregnant, that the bones release lead, in order to maintain high levels of calcium for the bone formation of the unborn child. So, if a pregnant woman’s diet is supplemented with foods rich in calcium, it will automatically decrease the amount of lead that bones release!
Thus, along with the tips suggested above, a pregnant woman should take a balanced diet, which is especially rich in calcium, to keep herself healthy and minimize lead exposure to her unborn child.