View Full Version : Pregnant and shooting question

06-26-2009, 4:15 PM
A friend of ours is 8+ months pregnant, and would like to come shooting with my wife and myself. I am a little concerned about the baby, loud noises and such (indoor range) but don't know if I should be. I tried to search it but came up with no answers. I'd appreciate any input from Cal Gunners. Thanks in advance.

Maltese Falcon
06-26-2009, 4:21 PM
I think there was another thread that went over this...basically a bad idea as the noise impact on a fetus in a liquid medium is very high.

06-26-2009, 4:27 PM
I often wonder if my youngest son Dillon is so weird because my wife went shooting when she was a few months pregnant with him.

06-26-2009, 6:06 PM
Some good responses/discussions/info in this thread :)
Shooting while pregnant (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=175745&highlight=pregnant)

06-26-2009, 7:30 PM
Some good responses/discussions/info in this thread :)
Shooting while pregnant (http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showthread.php?t=175745&highlight=pregnant)

Thank you, outstanding information. We will not take her shooting until after the baby. Thanks all!

06-26-2009, 8:02 PM
I think I made a thread like that too when my wife was pregnant (2008ish?) and came away with an inconclusive answer. So since it was unknown, we just didn't shoot. I was worried about airborne primer debris (even though it would be an outdoor range) and other toxins floating around (corrosive surplus) and less about the sound or shockwaves since i don't buy those theories.

Jonathan Doe
06-27-2009, 12:55 PM
My wife used to come to my shooting matches when she was in later stage of the pregnancy. She said she could feel the baby jumping everytime the shot went off. But he was born without a problem, now 20 years old. He is going to be a junior at Yale University and doing quite well in his school skeet and trap team also.. Maybe my shooting while my wife was pregnant helped him a little bit???:cool:

06-27-2009, 8:46 PM
Well everyone knows shooting causes cancer and birth defects in Kalifornia!

06-29-2009, 4:42 PM
This topic has been covered in depth about 10 years ago - here is what I show:

The main issue to be concerned with is lead exposure. Most primers use a lead compound, so gaseous lead is released when fired, and some amount of lead may be vaporized when lead or exposed base bullets are fired. Also, due to the lead residue, expended brass is contaminated.

For safety's sake, my wife stopped shooting IPSC while she was pregnant (and the time constraints of having a toddler, not to mention the financial constraints of being new homeowners, have kept her from getting back into it, and I haven't either).

Airborne lead may be a small problem if you shoot indoors. To be very safe she should probably not clean the guns and risk exposure to the various common solvents. Any good toxicology text will provide good inf. on teratogenicity. As for shooting large bore rifles with significant recoil:
who knows?

Tell her to wait. When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I researched the issue a bit and I believe the concepts are still accurate.

First, there is the issue of airborne lead from the primers. Lead isn't good for adults, it can't be good for a fetus.

Second is the noise. Yep, that noise is transmitted to the fetus and it cannot be pleasant. I do know a woman who kept up black powder shooting while pregnant and every time she touched off a round, the baby would go nuts.

Nothing may be proven either way but why risk it? Is a few months wait worth the risk of a lifetime of impairment for the child?

By the way, I am not a doctor and I don't play one on television either.

There are indeed health considerations for expectant mothers and their unborn babies. Before she goes shooting she should really speak to her doctor. I would also be sure and tell the doc you want medical facts not political belifes of personal opinions. You must remember that unborn babies are surrounded by fluid, fluids are excellent conductors of sound and shock waves. Like I said please get some professional advicebefore hand.

And in closing an Oregon Arms Chipmunk in 22LR makes a great gift for a soon
to be little shooter, as does a NRA membership.

Very good question. I would tell her to avoid it until the child is born. A doctor told me that hearing loss can occurr even when plugs and muffs are used. I would think that the sound waves might bother the unborn but I'm no doctor.

It had no ill effects on my unborn daughter. The only ill effect was that each time we fired a weapon, she jumped or kicked inside my wife. After a few rounds my wife couldn't take it anymore and we had to stop. Too bad there's no such thing as fetal ear muffs ; - ) Good luck.

I don't remember where I read it but there is/was some opinions the newborns should not be exposed to the high db's of gunfire, same for fireworks.

My friend's wife went to the clays range with us during her entire pregnancy and was in a duck blind at 7 1/2 months. We all agree that her prenatal gunfire exposure has helped eliminate gun-shyness in Natalya and I can't recommend it enough.

The main concerns were lead exposure and sound exposure to the fetus. Fetuses definitely can hear external sound. Even if you use lead free stuff - others near you may not.

Cleaning stuff might be a bad idea also.

Personally, given the short term nature of pregnancy - I'd just wait.

There may be a risk from airborne lead when shooting indoors as well as a risk of being around the cleaning chemicals afterwards, so I'd avoid both of those if possible.

There may also be a risk, however slight, of the noise/concussion bothering the developing fetus. One session at the range probably won't do it unless you're firing large calibers or magnums.

Been there - and didn't go as you can't know what affect the noise will have. She'll need a break soon enough afterward!

If there is a compelling reason (personal safety) shooting can be done with minimal risk while pregnant.

1) Use 'lead free' ammo, that is ammo that uses a non lead based
priming compound, and non-lead or copper encapsulated bullets.
DO NOT shoot in an indoor range, they are full of airborn lead.
Shoot outdoors, and away from everyone else that is shooting.
2) WRT potential hearingdamage to the fetus, this is not the
factor some people seem to thin it is. Yes, sound can be conducted
through the body, but it is a a _*greatly*_ reduced level. What you
hear with plugs in is still louder than what the fetus will be
exposed to. Having said that, I'd avoid the big boomers and
stick to 9mm, or what ever you can get lead free ammo for.

Keep in mind that lead free ammo is ~3 times as expensive as normal ammo, and very hard to find stocked in a normal gunshop. Unless there is a personal protection issue, it doens't seem like ti would be worth the cost and effort to shoot while pregnant.

I concur with this. My wife went to the range with me a couple times while she was 8 months pregnant, and each round that went off the baby would "jump." Now, 1 year later, there seem to be no residual effects with my daughter. My wife is another story... She now calls some of my handguns "hers."

I think it is not too good for the fetus.

By 6-8 mo they have a good hearing. They will get startled by GUNFIRE, and will KICK [like HELL] for every shot. [My 3rd daughter DID].

No ear protection either. Large belly-surface + the WATER [a good sound-conductor] makes a poor combination for the baby.

Maybe it is OK in the WINTER-time?

My neice is an avid shooter. She is 4' 11" and weighs about 98 lbs soaking wet. Well when she was pregnant, she enjoyed going to the local skeet and trap range as the shooting jackets hid her size. Fat chance as small as she is. Any way the only problem she had was when the shot gun went bang the little one went "KICK". I guess the noise of the gun going off kind of wakes them up. The up side of the problem was when the little one joined the world she could be taken to the range and would sleep all through the shooting. Of course she was never let anywhere near the firing line, but she had a hundred uncles that made as much a fuss over her as they did their shooting irons as mom was doing her thing with a rifle, pistol or shotgun.

Here is the recommendation taken right from the NRA Basic Range Safety Officer Course book:

Page III-15 States:
"Pregnant women, children under seven years of age, and others who have concerns should consult a physician before visiting shooting ranges."

As pointed out by others, lead exposure is one obvious concern. In addition, to lead exposure, there is a real potential for serious problems with sound pressure. Althought the pregnant shooter can be fitted with personal hearing protection, the fetus cannot. Remember, the fetus is floating in a fluid...from basic physics, we all know that liquids are not compressable like gases. This means that the sound pressure on the unborn has the potential of serious damage. No to mention pressures developed from the shockwave of recoil.

Because there has been no medical study on the effects of lead and sound on the fetus (who would ever think there would be a need for that?), I think common sense should prevail. We know the risk of sound pressure and lead to grown ups, so why risk it in an unborn child? I would tell your friend to waite until after she has had the baby and stopped breast feeding before she enters a range.

Then you can introduce your friend to the fun and safe shooting sports that we all enjoy!

Others have given good advice about pregnancy and shooting. I'd like to throw out a little bit about what might come next -- hunting while dealing with young infants.

My sister's first child was born in late August. In November, my sister went deer hunting with us (as she does every year). She'd made arrangements with my mother to meet her at various times so she could feed her son. The only problem she had was that he didn't much like cold milk. My sister took to wearing toe-warmers in her bra -- no more problems.