As far as possible, do refrain from painting during pregnancy. It is not certain how much chemicals from the paint solvents can and will affect your unborn child, but the risk is there. Regular or prolonged exposure to the chemical solvents in the paint during pregnancy increases your risk of having a baby with birth defects, such as gastroschisis.
Lead-based paint, which was commonly used before the 1970s, is most toxic. If you scrape lead paint, you can inhale lead dust, which could be harmful to you and your baby.
Ideally, ask someone else do the painting, or save it until after your baby’s born. Leave this job to the professionals to tackle when you are not around.
If you do decide to paint the room yourself, take the following precautions:
• Wear a ventilation mask with a filter, gloves, long trousers, and a long-sleeved shirt to protect your skin.
• Paint in a well-ventilated area.
• Take regular breaks from painting.
• Don’t eat or drink where you work, to prevent you from taking in any chemicals that may have come into contact with your food or drink.
• Try to use a paint that is labelled low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds).
• Limit the amount of time you spend painting.
• After you’ve finished painting, keep the windows open to let fumes escape.
• Don’t sleep in a newly painted room.
By Dorothea Chow.
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This article was first published in New Age Pregnancy.
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