Usually it is not recommended for the expectant mothers to paint or be around paint fumes as any kind of fume contains chemicals. Since there have been no evidences of reproductive health risks related to painting, one should consider the constituents of the paint in order to reach a conclusion. In other words, whether painting will be hazardous to the developing fetus or not depends on the kind of paints that are being used. Some paints have less volatile ingredients and are not so harmful whereas others contain certain chemicals which may lead to miscarriages.
Given Below Are Some Of The Type Of Paints Used And Their Effects:
Latex or Acrylic Paints- This is the most common type of paint which doesn’t contain solvents. These paints are unleaded and water based, and there are no known risks from this type of paint. So it’s safe to be around such paints as long as the room is well ventilated and the fumes don’t make the mother feel sick.
Oil Based Paints- This type of paint contains solvents and needs mineral spirits or turpentine for cleaning up. Studies have shown that exposure to these solvents can cause miscarriages. Continues exposure may lead to birth defects in the baby. Thus using oil based paints or being around these paint fumes are not recommended.
Lead Paints- Lead paints are no longer sold these days. But it was widely used in the 1970-1980 era. Hence, if the house which is to be refurnished was built at that time, the scraping and sanding of the old paint will contain traces of lead in it. It is harmful for the pregnant mother to stay near as she may inhale lead dust which can be extremely harmful to both the mother and the child.
At times the pregnant woman may need to be around paints for occupational reasons.
In that case, certain precautions need to be taken:-
- One should wear long sleeved shirts and long trousers, gloves to protect the skin.
- Masks specially meant for painting, in other words, the ventilation masks with filters should be mandatorily used.One should not eat or drink in the painting area in order to protect yourself from taking in any chemicals that may come in contact with the food or drink.
- Paints which are labeled low or zero VOC [volatile organic compounds] should be used.
- The expectant mother should try to limit the time spent in the area where the painting is done.
- The room to be painted should be well ventilated so that the fumes do not remain blocked in.
- Sleeping in a freshly painted room is a big no for the expectant mother.
The above precautions are good enough. Still it is advisable for the expectant mothers to stay away from painting as much as possible and let others do the job. Paint fumes do contain chemicals and it is not possible to guarantee that the fetus will not be affected. Better to be safe than sorry.