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Shooting is considered to be a perishable skill. This means if you do not practice you lose accuracy. This is important to people who carry guns including police officers and those with a concealed weapons permit. Nine months of missed practice will reduce accuracy but is it safe for a pregnant woman to practice shooting a gun?
Pregnant women get advice from just about everything they meet. I heard they should not drink caffeine, clean a cat litter box, or dye their hair. Some advice turns out to be nothing more than old wives’ tales. Dying your hair and getting a tattoo is discouraged since the chemicals may harm the fetus. This is the same for shooting, which more can be learned through a simple Google search.
There is no evidence if shooting will cause any harm to the fetus. There is no evidence that it is safe either. The main concern of shooting and the lead levels and the noise.
When a gun it fired it releases gasses which may contain lead. These particles stay on the hands and even the hair. The gas is also inhaled. Bullets that are made from lead expose the shooter to this substance. Many people have low levels of lead in the bodies. Even things such as lipstick contain lead. Many low level products are harmless. Mothers transfer some of this lead to the fetus but doctor are unsure how much is safe. Lead exposure has been shown to cause low birth rate, the size of the head, premature birth, pre eclampisa, and even a miscarriage.
If a pregnant woman does shoot a gun she should use ammunition that is lead free, go to an outdoor shooting range, wear a face mask, do not touch the ammunition, wash right after shooting, avoid touching her face, and wear shooting gloves.
Pregnant women that have gone to a shoot range report more activity from the fetus. So much that they had to leave. By the 24th week of pregnancy the fetus’s hearing will be developed. Studies have stated loud noises may harm the fetus. Women that have been exposed to 80dB level noise for 8 hours had babies born with hearing loss, had a low birth rate, and even premature birth. The average gunshot is 140dB. Exposure for a prolonged period of time may damage the babies’ hearing. Going to the range once in a while should not cause damage. Doctors advise to avoid shooting during the third trimester. To be careful of the noise shoot a .22 Long Rifle or use a suppressor.
When it doubt err on the side of caution. Women in law enforcement careers continue to shoot for practice and training. A safe alternative is a dry fire or a laser training target. Before shooting speak to the doctor about any concerns about pregnancy and shooting.