Lead, pregnancy and infant feeding

Pregnant person with their hand and their partner's hand on pregnant belly

Learn about lead, protect your health! 

If you have lead in your body, it can pass it to your unborn child during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Lead can cause your baby to be born too early or too small and can harm developing brains, nervous systems, kidneys, and other organs.

Keep away from lead, take steps to lower risk, and talk to your health care provider about getting a blood lead test.


Feeding your baby


  • Doctors and scientists say the benefits of breastfeeding generally outweigh the risks, even if there is lead in the environment. If you have lead in your body, talk to your doctor about breastfeeding.

Formula feeding

  • If you know you have elevated lead in your drinking water, use a lead-reducing filter for your water supply. If you do not have a filter, use bottled water to make baby formula.

Eating well

Foods rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C help keep lead out of your unborn baby’s developing body. 

  • Dairy products, lean red meat, beans, peanut butter, cereals, and fresh fruits and vegetables are all good choices.

Take steps to protect yourself and your baby from lead poisoning

Ask about a blood lead test. A test is the only way to know if you have lead in your body. Talk to your doctor about whether you should be tested.


Test for lead-based paint both inside and outside if your home was built before 1978. We offer free LeadCheck kits to test paint. Order a LeadCheck kit.


Keep dust down. Household dust can contain lead from paint and from outdoor soil. Use damp cloths to wipe down windowsills and surfaces, and wet mops to clean floors. Experts recommend vacuums with HEPA filters. Using non-HEPA vacuums can spread lead-containing dust into the air.


Find out if there is lead in your drinking waterWater pipes in homes built before 1986 may contain lead.


Be sure products are lead-free. Some home remedies and traditional medicines may contain lead. Imported cosmetics, candies, spices, and pottery also may contain lead.


Avoid eating non-food items. Many pregnant people crave non-food items, such as dirt or clay, which may contain lead.


Let someone else do the work. Avoid renovations and repairs that disturb lead paint. Have someone else do the work using lead-safe practices. Leave the house when someone is doing this kind of work, and keep children away. Find out about lead-safe practices.


Keep lead outside. If someone in your household works with lead, have them shower and change clothes before entering the home if possible. Removing shoes and clothing before coming in also helps.


Avoid jobs or hobbies that use lead.

  • If your job involves working with lead, talk to your doctor about risks and additional protections while at work. You also may need a medically necessary job transfer.
  • Take a break from hobbies that use lead while pregnant and breastfeeding. These include making art with lead glaze or solder, casting ammunition, or spending time at shooting ranges.


For information about lead and your health, contact ToxCall at 303-692-2606 or cdphe_toxcall@state.co.us.  

To request this web page information in a fact sheet, email cdphe_leadreports@state.co.us.