Are Paint Fumes Harmful to Pregnant Women?

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Update Date 12/05/2020
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Paint fumes are a pain, even for normal people. It is reasonable to suspect that they may be harmful to pregnant women.

Are paint fumes harmful if you are pregnant?

There has not been a clear answer for this matter. Needless to say, inhaling paint fumes exposes you and your baby to numerous chemicals. Scientists cannot tell exactly how those chemicals and solvents affect your baby. Since it is difficult to measure precisely how much chemicals you take in, there is no way to speculate the risk they pose to pregnant women. Exposure to solvents during pregnancy is likely to increase your baby’s risk of birth defects. A study suggests an association between regular exposure to solvents and a slightly elevated risk of gastroschisis, a condition in which intestines and other organs of the baby grow outside her body. But you do not have to worry if you have just done a bit painting. You are going to be fine, as long as you do not paint on a daily basis.

What if you need to paint something?

Obviously, the safest way is to ask someone else to do the painting for you, or you can wait until after delivery. But remember to keep your newborn away from the painting as well. Do not put her near you when you are painting, and never place her in a freshly painted room no matter how badly you want to see her in the beautiful room you have just decorated for her. Paint fumes are definitely something newborns should not be close to.

If you really have to paint, what precautions could you take to lower the risk?

  • First and foremost, arm yourself with a ventilation mask with a filter. Many stores sell that kind of masks specially designed for painting.
  • Wear long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt to make sure no drop of paint can touch your skin.
  • No food or drink is allowed where you work. If you want to eat, go to another room. This will prevent you from eating the chemicals that may have landed on your food.
  • Find a safe paint, one that is low in volatile organic compounds.
  • Limit the amount of painting time.
  • Keep your windows open wide to let the fumes escape.
  • Do not sleep or stay too long in a newly painted room.

Even though there is not much evidence of the harm paint fumes could do to pregnant women, it is still advisable to limit your exposure to paint and paint fumes as much as possible, just to be safe.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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