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Introduction. One percent of women of childbearing age in the U.S. have blood lead levels ≥ 5 ug/dL, which are associated with maternal hypertension during pregnancy, neural tube and cardiac defects in infants, low birth weight, prematurity, and spontaneous abortion. It is unknown whether obstetrics providers in Vermont are screening their pregnant patients for lead levels and educating them on lead exposure risks.

Objective. To gain an understanding of current lead screening practices in Vermont and issue recommendations for disseminating lead screening information.

Methods. We developed and e-mailed a survey to practicing OB/GYN physicians, maternity care focused family medicine physicians, nurse midwives, and professional midwives. The survey assessed current screening practices for lead exposure in their pregnant patients, interest in receiving statewide guidelines, and guideline dissemination preferences.

Results. Of the 41 respondents, 12% currently conduct risk assessments for lead exposure with all of their pregnant patients. Fifty four percent of maternity providers give all of their patients educational materials about lead exposure and risk of toxicity. Seventy one percent of maternity providers think that having guidelines provided by the Vermont Department of Health would encourage them to begin or continue lead exposure screening. The two preferred methods of communicating guidelines to physicians were grand rounds and email whereas non-physician providers preferred email and webinar.

Discussion. The majority of pregnant patients in Vermont are not properly assessed or educated about lead risks. However, there is interest in having statewide standardized lead risk assessment guidelines, with dissemination preferences differing by provider type.


Wendy Davis, The University of Vermont

Matthew Bradstreet, Vermont Department of Health


Vermont Department of Health


Environmental Health, Maternal, Infant, and Child Health

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Prenatal Lead Exposure Risk Assessment by Vermont Maternity Care Providers