Painting While Pregnant

image001When it comes to painting while pregnant, it is better to be cautious. There exist three different categories of paint that women are usually exposed to, and they include oil, latex and enamel. The degree of toxicity of each of these paints to pregnant mothers might be very challenging to predict, keeping in mind that there exists no approved method of measuring and determining the actual exposure. The likelihood of toxicity in certain paint depends on the solvents and the chemicals found in these paints as well as the period or duration of exposure. Read on to learn which paints are safe and which are unsafe during pregnancy.

Painting While Pregnant—Is It Safe?

Whether painting while pregnant is safe or not depends on the type of paint that you are dealing with and the chemicals that you may be exposed to. Some of the paints may contain ingredients which you must avoid when you are pregnant. The paint contains a dye or a pigment which is suspended in liquid and in which solvents, thinners and drying agents are added. These pigments include metals like zinc, lead and aluminum. Here is the safety of some of the paints.

1. Latex or Acrylic Paint

In fact, this is one of the common types, it’s solvent free and can be cleaned up with soap and water. This paint is one of the safest paints to work with while pregnant as long as the surrounding environment is well ventilated or air conditioned. In case you start feeling ill due to the fumes, you can get fresh air and let someone else finish the job for you.

2. Oil-based Paint

These paints contain solvents and may need mineral spirits or turpentine for cleanup. Some research on this paint has shown that when a pregnant mother is exposed to solvents for a long period of time, she may have miscarriage. Increased birth defects occur with increased exposure to these solvents. Therefore, pregnant women are not supposed to work with or be around the oil-based paints. If you need to paint a house, you can let someone else do it for you while you stay away from the paint, make sure that the house is well ventilated so that you don’t have to inhale much of the fumes after the house has been painted. There are no known risks to your baby as long as it doesn’t make you ill.

What If I Am Already Exposed?

For those mothers who may have been exposed to these fumes while pregnant and didn’t realize their effects, you should not worry as there are very minimal risks to your developing baby in the womb. However, follow some precautionary guidelines stated below to minimize the exposure:

  • You can minimize and limit your time of exposure to this paint. It’s difficult to determine how much exposure is safe for your health; thus it’s advisable to limit your time of exposure when working with this kind of paints.
  • Always put on protective gear i.e. gloves, long –sleeved shirts and pants as well, this is crucial in protecting your skin.
  • Avoid any accidental ingestion of the oil based paints, and you can do this by not eating or drinking at the place of work.

3. Lead Paint

This is an old paint that was used in most of the buildings, although it is currently not in existence in the market. You can come into contact with lead dust when sanding or scraping old paints. This could be a potential health threat to both you and your developing baby. As a pregnant mother it’s important to take caution when dealing with this kind of paint. You can only go to the room after the paint has been removed and the house surfaces thoroughly cleaned.

Notes on Painting for Different Uses While Pregnant

1. Household Paint

House hold painting while pregnant comes in to play when we talk about mothers painting their little ones baby nursery or even decorating the house before the baby arrives. However, there exists no conclusive research relating effects of household painting to pregnancy and the growing baby in the womb. The assumption remains that, household painting involves limited exposure of the mother to these paints. The substances that pregnant women are advised to be on lookout for are such substances as mercury, lead and oil-based paints. They should also avoid removing old paints (which contains lead) as well as dealing with latex paints which contain ethylene glycol and biocides.

2. Occupational or Industrial Paint

This guarantees even more concern especially for pregnant mothers in this profession. The spray paints are the worst of all, since they create a mist which dissolves in air thus acting as a potential for inhalation. Protective gear should be worn including the face mask to reduce exposure and potential risk to the baby.

3. Recreational Use

Some recreation practices such as inhaling paint solvents can be risky whether you are pregnant or not. Inhaling and sniffing of paints can be very dangerous since it is a direct exposure to chemical fumes. The effects are usual and include miscarriage or birth defects.

More Tips on Minimizing the Risks:

  • It’s good to consult your doctor before embarking on any painting project.
  • Choose paints which are labeled as being suitable for nurseries or children rooms since they contain fewer chemicals.
  • Use the water based paint i.e. acrylic or latex paints instead of the solvent based ones.
  • You can simply avoid the spray paints and other decorating materials that have solvents.
  • You can contact the manufacturer if you are not sure of the chemical ingredients in paint or a decorating material.
  • Generally, acrylic, water colors and temporary paints are recommended over oil paints.
  • Wear protective gear while painting i.e. a face mask.
  • After painting, you can open up the windows and let the fumes escape; pregnant women should avoid newly painted rooms as much as possible.