After spotting those two pink lines on your pregnancy test, you may already have started planning the nursery decorations for your little munchkin to arrive.
If you are all set to wield the brush to give the new member’s room a new look, or maybe to paint your bedroom or cabinet or even renovate your fences/deck, keep this idea on hold, as painting during pregnancy may not be that safe.
Can you paint while pregnant?
Early pregnancy: As paints, particularly solvent-based ones, have harmful chemicals, it is better to avoid painting in the first trimester. Since the fetus’ organs develop during this time, even a small risk can pose a big problem in the long run.
Late second and third: Since fetal development is almost complete in late pregnancy, especially in the last trimester, the baby is at a lesser risk from paint fumes. However, it is still safe to stay away from painting.
The best option would be to have your husband or anyone else do the task while you take the role of a delighted spectator.
If your home was built before the 1980s, make sure that an expert does the paint removal, and you are not around then, as most paints contained lead during those times, exposure to which might cause miscarriage or developmental delay in the baby.
Is it safe to paint while pregnant: Research evidence?
There have not been consistent results on how harmful painting can be during pregnancy as it is hard to measure the level of exposure. However, many findings have mentioned that chemical solvents in most paints and fumes can harm the unborn baby.
The US Environmental Protection Agency advises pregnant women to stay away from newly painted rooms for about two days after completing the task. A study highlighted that most babies born to mothers exposed to paint fumes during the first trimester run high risks of congenital anomalies.
Another finding shows that benzene, found in small amounts in solvent-based paints, may increase the risk of childhood ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia).
It has also been shown that women who came in contact with chemical solvents through painting, furniture stripping, or car repairing over an extended period were at an increased risk of giving birth to babies having gastroschisis, where the intestine develops outside the walls of the abdomen.
Chemical solvents (higher in oil-based paints than water-based ones) might even lead to miscarriage, congenital disabilities, and learning disabilities.
Which paints are safe to use during pregnancy?
|Choice of paints||Can you use||What makes it safe/unsafe|
|Water-based/ emulsion/ latex||Yes||Less chemical solvent and low VOC volatile oil compounds|
|Acrylic/Water paints||Yes||Less chemical solvent and VOC to be used while doing any artwork|
|Oil-based/Paint thinners||No||High in chemical solvents|
|Lead-based||No||Possibilities of harming your fetus or causing developmental delays in the infant|
|Spray Paint||No||The mist it creates in the air would be harmful when inhaled|
|Chalk paint||Preferably No||Because of its toxic contents|
|Wax-based (Encaustic)||No||Fumes obtained from heating it may prove toxic for the baby|
Protect yourself from latex/acrylic paint fumes while painting your nursery or home
- Opt for paints with zero or low VOC (volatile oil compounds).
- Keep the windows and doors open for proper ventilation to avoid inhaling the fumes.
- Wear a respirator or ventilator mask with filters to protect from fumes.
- Dress in trousers, shirts with long sleeves, and gloves to keep harmful chemicals off your skin.
- Go away from the area of painting at the earliest in case you feel unwell or encounter symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, or a headache.
- Remain in the place of work for long.
- Eat or drink in the area where you are working to avoid ingestion of harmful chemicals that may get transferred through the food.
- Sleep in a recently painted room.
- Involve in scraping or sanding.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.