Now, I love women and guns. I think more women should be shooting more guns, if only to keep you men folk in line. I was headed out to shoot some trap with a group of fine ladies when I ran across something that was news to me, and I wanted to pass it along. Shooting while pregnant poses some risk to the podling. There aren’t enough studies to know precisely where the limits of danger are, but there are some guidelines based on common sense. The dangers fall along three lines; lead, sound and the physical trauma.
Lead – This one is pretty obvious. If the shooting is being done with any sort of lead ammo, or if the gun powder has lead in it, the pregnant woman will inhale some of that. Lead is a known placenta crosser, with known effects, none of them good. It is easy to minimize lead exposurewhen using firearms.
a. Shoot on an outdoor range, if you must shoot inside, find one that is adequately ventilated
b. Shoot lead-free ammunition (and primers)
c. Don’t eat or drink on a range
f. Thoroughly wash hands and mouth after shooting
g. Change clothes after returning home after shooting
h. Wear gloves when cleaning guns
So, if you must continue shooting, (or reloading) follow those guidelines to minimize the lead exposure risk to your favorite tadpole.
Noise – This one also seems like common sense to me. I know I wear hearing protection when I’m target shooting. Studies have shown that the womb muffles about 10 dB, which isn’t enough when you’re talking about the sound levels of firearms at 125-140 dB for rimfire rifles, 140-150dB for rimfire pistols, and 150-160 dB for centerfire rifles, pistols, and shotguns. In most European countries, health regulations forbid pregnant women to work in surroundings with a level over 80 dB continuous noise. In the United States, the Department of Labor limit for impulse (not continuous) noise is 140 dB. Hearing structures are forming as early at 8 weeks, with the first responses to noise coming in at around 16 weeks.
Physical Trauma – I use the word trauma here loosely. What I’m talking about is the kickback from the gun, multiplied over a set or 2. To a body full of hormones designed to loosen muscles and joints, that much repetitive force could cause damage to joints.
Now, I’m pretty sure, if you need to shoot somebody full of holes to save your life, you should do that, pregnant or not. But, time on the range may need to be weighed against the possible harm to the developing human.
– Calamity Jane