Issue Paper on Physiological and Behavioral Changes in Pregnant and Lactating Women and Available Exposure Factors

Notice

EPA is announcing the availability of the final report, "Issue Paper on Physiological and Behavioral Changes in Pregnant and Lactating Women and Available Exposure Factors."


Abstract

This issue paper provides a summary of information from the published literature related to behavioral and physiological changes during pregnancy and lactation that may affect women’s exposure or susceptibility to environmental contaminants, provides potentially useful exposure factor data for this population of women, and highlights data gaps.

Background

Exposures to environmental contaminants can pose a risk to pregnant women’s health, the developing fetus, children, and adults later in their lives. Assessing risks to this potentially susceptible population requires an understanding of the physiological and behavioral changes that occur during pregnancy and lactation. Many physiological and anatomical changes occur in a woman’s organ systems during the course of pregnancy and lactation.

For example, blood volume and cardiac output increase during pregnancy, and other metabolic functions are altered to provide for the demands of the fetus. Nutritional demands are greater during pregnancy and lactation. There also are changes in behavior during both pregnancy and lactation. For example, water consumption during pregnancy and lactation increases. These behavioral and physiological changes can lead to different environmental exposures than these women might otherwise experience in the absence of pregnancy or lactation.


Citation

Moya, J., L. Phillips, L. Schuda, J. Sanford, M. Wooton, AND A. Gregg. Issue Paper on Physiological and Behavioral Changes in Pregnant and Lactating Women and Available Exposure Factors. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-15/169, 2015.

This document has been reviewed in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency policy and approved for publication. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.