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Lead-Safe Wisconsin: Reproductive Health, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Lead has long been recognized as a reproductive toxin in both men and women. A history of maternal lead exposure, prenatal and postpartum lead exposures and blood lead levels can be a concern.  Concern about all possible pathways of lead exposure has raised questions about reproductive health, prenatal exposure and breastfeeding. These resources explain the risks and provide recommendations.

CDC Guidance for the Identification and Management of Lead Exposure in Pregnant and Lactating Women (Exit DHS; PDF, 4.2MB) and one-page summary (PDF, 407 KB). These guidelines are based on scientific data and practical considerations regarding preventing lead exposure during pregnancy, assessment and blood lead testing during pregnancy, medical and environmental management to reduce fetal exposure, breastfeeding, and follow up of infants and children exposed to lead in utero.

Lead Toxicity in Reproductive Health, Fetal Development, and Breast Milk (PDF, 94 KB) This is Chapter 13 from the Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Handbook. It explains how lead exposure of the mother can affect fetal and infant development and discusses the transfer of lead through breast milk.

Wisconsin Local Public Health Departments Local Public Health Departments can assist in establishing prenatal care and newborn services to women.

Wisconsin Women, Infant, and Children's (WIC) Nutrition Program Clinic Locations Pregnant women and new mothers who are income eligible can receive education and support for adequate prenatal nutrition and breastfeeding at WIC clinics.

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Last Revised:  August 19, 2014