Got wind of a story from our friend at GirlsJustWannaHaveGuns.com, Regis Giles, about a young pregnant woman who used a handgun to shoot at and scare off two home invaders who busted down her door.
“Alex” (named changed for safety) didn’t like the idea of her husband buying a gun and having one around the house. Fortunately for her, her husband would not be swayed about protecting his family and he properly instructed her on how to use the sidearm.
In her own words:
A few funny things I take away from that, not funny haha mind you but funny hmmmm. These burglars were in her home and 911 was on the phone. Without that gun that she was so against when her husband bought it 7 months earlier this scenario ends differently. As they say, when seconds count the police are minutes away. I’m glad “Alex” came around and learned how to use the gun.
I challenge some gun grabbing zealot to tell me how this ended badly for. “Alex”.
That’s the feel good story for the day. But then I got thinking about shooting while pregnant in general. Just the existence of sites like girlsjustwannahaveguns.com pretty much clues people into the fact that firearms are not only a male dominated activity.
But women may face a situation completely apart from their male counterparts and that is pregnancy. Does it mean they should give up or avoid learning an activity they find enjoyable for safety reasons?
SHOOTING WHILE PREGNANT
I looked at three possible hazards that shooting may have on the baby.
Lead is bad for anyone but especially so for pregnant women as the toxicity of lead has been associated with decreased birth weight, head circumference, miscarriage, premature delivery and pre-eclampsia.
To avoid exposure from lead a few simple steps can help immensely. They include where to shoot, what to shoot, and what to wear.
First an foremost, I personally avoid indoor firing ranges as I lean away from trusting the air filtration system of a building because they cannot compare to the natural openness of the great outdoors. Opting for an outdoor range when it is not crowded is a great way for any blowback from your firearm to dissipate into nature and not cling around an enclosed space waiting for some machine to moderately suck it away.
As for what to shoot, simply buy lead free ammo with a lead free primer. Now, these “green” bullets are more expensive and are less effective so I will not recommend them for use in your home defense or carry weapon. But if you want to blast through a hundred rounds or so while pregnant it is a precaution that might be worth it.
Another thing, just to cover your bases and be super extra careful while shooting outdoors with your lead free ammo is a simple respirator. While perhaps more necessary in an indoor range, if you’re worried about baby a solution to assuage your fears, $20 buys you a good lead HEPA filter Air respirator.
As for noise, guns are loud. If you can get a silencer all the better. Though the Federal Government apparently hates hearing and pregnant women thus making getting a silencer both expensive and difficult, if you happen to have access to one it is a great little addition to have for the protection of your great little addition your going to have.
Of course, unlike the movies, silencers are a misnomer and should be referred to as noise suppressants. It won’t exchange the sound of your hand cannot to that of a soda bottle popping its top. But it will take the 160 db level shot and knock it down about 30 db. To put that in comparison chainsaws, rock concerts, rocket engines, pneumatic drills, small firecrackers, and ambulance sirens are rated at 100 to 140 dB.
Mommy will throw in a pair of ear protection that will knock the noise down another 30 db to a relatively negligible level comparitable to a garbage disposal or vacuum cleaner.
But what about the baby on board?
The fetal response to sounds begins around 16 weeks, and the ear is structurally complete by 24 weeks. According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, “the hearing threshold (the intensity at which one perceives sound) is approximately 40 dB at 27-29 weeks, and decreases to a nearly adult level of 13.5 dB by 42 weeks of gestation.” So they can hear what is going on outside.
Some layers of clothing, a foam piece or gel cutout, body armor over your belly etc are all added layers of noise dampening. Plus, depending on the outdoor range they may have seating or low walls which divide your lower body from the handguns discharge thus reducing sound even more for your baby. Not holding your handgun literally at your belly and having the recoil jab your unborn child does help 😮
Finally stress. If you are one of those people who irrationally fear guns and the sight or thought of touching or shooting ones makes you have a breakdown, maybe during your pregnancy isn’t the best time to overcome that.
However, if you enjoy shooting or are excited about learning the sport can release a happy dose of endorphins once heat rounds are heading downrange and feel good endorphins make for a happy mommy and baby.
I’m not a doctor so I won’t recommend one way or the other. What I will say is that with the proper precautions, attire and equipment, going to the shooting range to practice or learning how to defend yourself and the life inside of you is no more dangerous or harmful than any other activity your are going to do during a normal day.
Be it the noise level of a vacuum cleaner, or the trace contaminates when you are going about in a city. Hell, with these recommendations your baby will be SAFER with you at the range than with you walking down a busy street filled with load traffic, contaminates and germs and whatever else is crawling around unseen to the naked eye.
In that case…for the health of your baby…spend MORE time at the range. 🙂
But on a serious note, learn to use a firearm to defend both yourself and your child. You are their mother and there may come a time when it’s not an imaginary boogeyman in the closet or under the bed that needs to be defeated but rather the wolves at the gate.