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Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I’ve heard that pregnant women shouldn't paint. Is this true? Is there anything else I need to know while I’m working on the nursery?

Re: I’ve heard that pregnant women shouldn't paint. Is this true? Is there anything else I need to know while I’m working on the nursery?

The Bump Expert

The exact dangers of painting aren’t known, but it’s safest to let someone else handle this job. Every type of paint has chemicals, and though it’s tough to measure how much is actually absorbed while painting (and the resulting effects), some exposure is inevitable. There is some evidence linking high solvent exposure with birth defects and miscarriage. Any exposure while painting will be much less significant, but again, it’s best to let your partner take care of it. If you’ve already had exposure, though, don’t worry too much. Chances are, baby will be fine. If for some reason you absolutely must paint, limit the time you spend around chemicals, keep the windows open, wear long pants and sleeves, gloves, and a screen or mask, don’t eat or drink while working, and use water-based paints (which have less solvents than oil-based paints).

Take special caution if your house was built or decorated before lead paint was banned in 1978. If you have even the slightest suspicion that lead paint was used, let a professional do the scraping and removing, and leave the house while they work. Inhaling the dust can be harmful to both you and baby.   

Also, start working on the nursery as soon as possible. Climbing ladders, carrying linens and setting up furniture will be much easier and safer right now, when your balance, flexibility and energy levels are still (relatively) high.

watch: paint safety during pregnancy

Paula Kashtan

re: Q: Safe to paint nursery?

Use paints that contain low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOC's). There are plenty of well-known brands out there. Lowe's sells Olympic Premium which contains zero VOC's. Hint: unless the can says specifically that it has no VOC's, then stay away :)

heatouel85 |

re: Q: Safe to paint nursery?

I did most of it in ONE WEEKEND! I started cleaning and emptying the room decided to be the nursery, then with the money we've saved up we went shopping. The very first thing I bought was the crib bedding, I went from there to start buying the rest of the decoration matching the theme and furniture to match my crib...and so, choose a color for the walls. I also bought hangers and baskets for the closet and organizer shelves...It was easier than I thought

mrsgal |

re: Q: Safe to paint nursery?

I read in a book about pregnancy do's and dont's that women who come in contact with paint occupationally are fine but women who regularly inhale paint to get high have babies with problems similar to babies born with fetal alcohol syndrome. I think it's like everything else, it depends on what you read and who you talk to.

ash138 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Home Depot has a brand of paint that is totally VOC-free. Apparently, some paints say they are, but that's only the base, whereas the colorant can still contain some VOCs. The HD brand is called Freshaire and we just used it in our new bathroom. Great coverage, no fumes, quick dry = awesome!

amyj156 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Yep, we just painted the nursery this weekened with Freshaire paint too. It smells a little but NOTHING compared to regular paint. A day later and you can't smell it at all. We kept the window open and had a fan running the whole time. We took breaks and it went well. I was exhausted but felt good afterwards. Room is painted and crib and dresser are put together. Now we just need to decorate.

malcivar |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

My doc was MUCH less worried about hazards of painting while pregnant than it sounds like most of you are... he didn't think it was an issue at all, except that we should ventilate (but you should always do that). And just a tip: when you buy low- or no-VOC paint at Lowe's or HD and then have them tint it to the color you want, the TINT contains VOCs. So you'll still get them unless you special order the paint.

srn42080 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

If you buy zero VOC paint, the VOC instantly jumps to 25% when you add color to the paint. So, it will be lower than regular paint, but not without. My local store told me, if you are painting just one room, the difference in regular paint vs. zero VOC pain is minimal and you may as well save the money and use regular paint.

spanrex |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

i was a full time house painter throughout my whole pregnancy, my doctor and midwife were not to concerned as long as i just a mask while i was using oil based paintsand ventilated the room. My daughter has had no affects from me painting and i did it for a long time let alone just doing up one bedroom.

shona01 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Although there are low VOC paints out there, most paints sold in the US are so low in VOC's (by government regulation) in the first place that the difference is negligible. The cost difference is way too much for the tiny difference in exposure.

LaViolette |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Home Depot's FreshAir paint is no VOC as the dye added does not contain VOC's either as its a powder packet added to the paint. I painted my spare bedroom with it and now my nursery. It smells a bit like milk to me and I felt fine the whole time I was working on the projects.

vbraun |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Yes the FreshAir paint from Home Depot uses a powder to color the paint not the liquid so there are NO Voc's in the paint at all. I used it and the color turned out great (pear something). I drove past a Sherwin Williams the other day and saw that they were advertising a no VOC paint but I don't know the details.

jrydberg |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

The Sherwin Williams paint tint does have VOC's. The Fresh Air is better in that respect. We have been using Fresh Air and we just got Mythic Paint from Ace Hardware- also no VOC and no toxic chemicals at all- unlike the no other no VOC's. The Mythic paint is really high quality and the color is beautiful, we are very happy with it.

elkinswe |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

i painted my twins room with my mom, we opened the window and turned on a circulating fan to keep air moving kept it ventilated. and let it dry before going in and finishing the rest. i was just fine we got it done in a few hours. like 2 .

cmoctezuma |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

My complaint with regular latex paint is that, while pregnant, the smell makes me sick (headache, etc.) even when the room is well ventilated. So, even though my doctor said any latex paint with good ventilation is fine, we used no-VOC paint just to avoid the headache from my super-prego-sniffer.

nbedard |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Yay! Just the excuse I need to get out of painting the nursery! I hate painting and decorating-so I am more than willing to let someone else do this for me. I did clean out the guest room, pick out the furniture, bedding, and accessories though.

oksoonergirl26@yahoo.com |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

We have painted two rooms in the house and have to more to go. My best friend is a painter. She has been painting for 11 years and carried two kids while painting. She told me to use a laytex base (one that uses only soap and water to clean up with). We left windows open and fans going. I did take a few breaks. Now that my belly is getting bigger I will not be going up and down a ladder. So my baby will be doing most the painting from now on. To much of anything is bad. Just make sure you listen to your body!

Rohdemakes5 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

It is always best to ask your doctor what's right for you. My doctor told me it was fine to paint in a well ventilated room, but some moms to be may have complications or reasons that this could be harmful to the baby. If you get offers from family members to paint the baby's room, why not let them? If your as tired as I am at 6 months pregnant, then letting others do the work sounds pretty good.

BritniC18 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Why paint yourself? Thats what your man is for :)

katprowlr84 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Behr Premium Plus Ultra is a good choice for low VOC paint, it is also #1 on Consumer Reports. Many paints with no VOCs do not hold their color well (fade fast). Our nursery was just painted this week by my mother & sister. While they painted the door to the nursery was closed & the window was open with a fan in it (to pull the fumes out of the room). I was able to stay at the house without any issues. Hope this helps!

kristimarie74 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Benjamin Moore has the best paint out there and is relatively new. It is called Natura and even has a baby's face on the can. It has zero VOCS in any of it including the dyes, etc. The problem with some advertised no voc is that the dye or pigment in it has voc. Specially Lowes Olympic paint has voc in the dye even though they advertise NO voc. I used only Natura and no smell and just to be extra cautious anyways, I wore a Niosh mask which is safest to use when around paints/fumes and I could smell nothing period it was such a good mask. I bought the mask at Lowes but sure you can get them pretty much at any hardware/paint store.

the1painter |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

One thing to think about is whether the paint that you choose will be safe for the baby/toddler. Here is an article from Mother Earth News that reports on a study finding that many no-VOC or low VOC paints (often marketed as more eco/safer paints) contain solvents that lead to a higher rate of asthma and allergies in babies and children. The link is here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/water-based-paints-zmgz11zrog.aspx As an alternative, they recommend: "using interior paints made by Bioshield, Keim, Safecoat or Yolo, or milk paints from The Old Fashioned Milk Paint Co. and The Real Milk Paint Co." It's hard to know what the right thing is to do with all this information out there... but considering that these products off-gas for several years after application, info like this can be helpful in making choices. I wish it wasn't so complicated, though!

nesserskye |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Sherwin williams no longer has VOCs in their tint. So they can make 100% zero VOC paints. I've worked for them for almost 10 years. Most of the chemicals entering the air do so in the first two days after applied. But nail polish for instance has 100x more chemicals that come off a it dries. So I really wouldn't worry. Ventilate if possible and go zero voc to be safe!

Beamer4gb |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

To be sure that your baby isn't put in danger because of the paint you will use I advice you to not paint the baby's room. It's a job for the father and I am sure that he will enjoy doing this. You can decorate the room with baby special made furniture and decorate the pieces with different Custom Stickers that show animals and plants. The baby will appreciate the effort when he will understand the meanings of the decorations.

marta8080 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I talked to my doc and he said as long as the room is well ventilated it's fine. I am going to buy the no voc for ppl with allergies and asthma and keep the windows open with a fan and call it good:)

sdavis119 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I'm painting today.. but nothing hardcore or anything, it's very brief. I turn on the powerful vent in the kitchen, open the windows, keep doors open and keep areas circulated... there is nothing wrong for short term. But if you have a painting profession, best to cut down due to the certain paints/chemicals or if it's fine paints, they might have to deal with turpentine etc.... and those smells/chemicals or whatever can cause free radicals and high amts of that will lead to cancer. The free radical cells are proven (look online). But if it directly impacts the baby, not sure... but for the mother, best not to do long term or industrial painting of that sort. Also the physical ACT of painting can be exhausting (preg or not preg) so be cautious of how you extend yourself, too.

newbieberri |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

What about artistic painting? I love to paint and draw, and in a couple of weeks I'm leaving my job and will have more time to spend on these hobbies before little one comes.....

littleredheadgurl |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I just spent 12 hours painting our livingroom, ahallway, kitchen & bathroom. I also painted DS's room & DD's room. I painted with my first as well while i was pregnant!

lildivastar16 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I don't feel that painting for an hour or two will hurt the child, thinking back to my mom and grandma who painted our nurseries :-). And to everyone who is saying it is the man's job. Some of us aren't lucky enough to have one around, with no choice but to paint the nursery myself...

lorabeth23 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Valspar Ultra (at Lowe's) is no VOC and their other lines (of Valspar) are low VOC.

aibrean |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I think it is not safe to do that during pregnancy. I wanted too to paint my bathroom and I was searching for tips to beautify your bathroom but my husband didn`t let me do it.

ioana06 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I'm letting my mother-in-law do all the painting. I will either wear a mask or go to the dog park and to a friends, maybe even do some shopping.

MrsRoam09 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I helped paint our nursery. My husband is a horrible painter and I'm a perfectionist, so I just helped with the trim and such and pointed out areas he missed. We opened all the windows in the house, turned on fans and bought the low VOC paint from Lowes. The stuff was still pretty strong so I wore a face mask over my nose and mouth and took lots of breaks. I felt fine afterwards. I think the worst part was that it was quite hot during the time we were painting. I would wait for a cooler day if I did it again.

atlmichelle |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

get a paint odor respirator mask if you are still concerned about it

wife2b2drew |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Give each child a separate room - a luxury that almost every family can afford. As a rule, it is necessary to equip the overall child. And the task is a truly creative. Because of how it's done, depends skyrocket siblings notorious, hated each other or the concerted, self-reliant. Examples of kids rooms

juegocom |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

Someone mentioned artistic painting... I went to a Liquitex demo last weekend, and didn't specifically ask about pregnancy, but they said acrylics are safe as long as you're painting in a ventilated area. I'm still going to check with my midwife at my next appointment. I'd be more worried if I painted for a living, rather than just a few hours per week for fun!

nicolinab |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I'm an artist for a living, so painting isn't something I can just stop. I use oil paint 9 times out of ten. I guess I'll get some masks and just pray that it'll be okay. I already stopped working outside the home to be there for baby. I can't stop working altogether;

AdaliaAngel |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I used to work in Home Depot's paint department. Painting is safe if you select a paint with 0 VOC (chemicals). Behr Paint and Primer is an excellent choice! It's what I am using in my nursery. I do have one quart of paint that has low VOC, rather than 0, so I use a paint respirator when using that one. If you do have any questions or concerns, someone in paint can help direct you to everything you will need to be safe and healthy while painting.

Ellonnah |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

We bought a house when I was only three months pregnant and the walls were so horrible that they had to be painted right away. Since we couldn't afford to hire a painter, my husband and I did one room/section at a time. I did a couple of the rooms myself too when he was working on weekends. I opened all the windows in the room while I was working, used fans when I could to move the air even more and took lots of breaks. I felt great. Never had an issue with the minimal smell that came off the Lowes Ultra Low VOC paint. I think the "do not paint" advice comes from years and years ago when basic paint was highly toxic. They have come a LONG way in making paint safer for everyone...pregnant or not.

atlmichelle |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

I doubt anyone else this problem too, but I feel I should share, just in case someone can relate to me! My doctor told me to NOT paint at all during pregnancy, b/c painting before has caused me to have lots of seizures! And I sure don't want to have a lot of seizure problems, which can cause problems for the baby! So, you seizure-proned people, be cautious with paint! It may be best to avoid until after your baby comes out! :)

sportsgirl_01@hotmail.com |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

My doctor wasn't concerned at all about painting, but suggested that I wear a mask and keep the room well ventilated and absolutely no ladders are to be stepped on.

amleona2 |

Q&A: Is it safe to paint while pregnant

When I was pregnant in 4 months I decided to paint the garage door using a paint that had zero volatile organic compounds but my husband insisted he should do that instead because he was afraid about my health. I decided to let him do that while I would search for affordable storage ideas and luckily I found very good offers that he liked.

amyabel68 |