Painting and Pregnancy

Updated on December 31, 2008
A.L. asks from El Dorado Hills, CA
28 answers

I am 28 weeks and we are currently making more room for our new baby. We already have two kids and are finally giving them their own rooms. The other day I went and saw my doctor and he told me that as long as the paint is water based and that there is air going through the room, I should be fine to paint myself. Today I painted but can't help but think that I probably shouldn't have. What if I hurt my baby somehow? Has anyone painted while pregnant? Do I have anything to worry about??

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J.B.

answers from San Francisco on

Get low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. You can find it at Eco-Home Improvements in Berkeley. Safecoat and Yolo are two of the brand names. Some of the more mainstream brands make a low VOC formula, as well, such as Kelly-Moore.

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P.W.

answers from San Francisco on

Don't worry. Did you use water-based (acrylic) paint? Most likely.

You and the baby will be FINE.

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C.V.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi A., I painted my first son's room at 8 months pregnant and had a mask on with the window open and a fan running in the room. I just stayed off the ladder and had my mom help me with the higher parts of the walls. My son is fine born healthy no issues. In fact, I forgot one day I was pregnant at 4 months and used oven cleaner and then half way cleaning my stove I freaked. My son is fine and you are fine.
SAHM/zombie 39 with a super active funny 3yo and a 5 month sons who is full of smiles and bubbles and doesn't sleep.

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S.S.

answers from Yuba City on

Sorry this is super late.

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A.A.

answers from San Francisco on

You got the answer from your doctor, DON'T worry. I painted when pregnant with each of my three children, they are 27 years, 25 years and 19 years and are doing fine. Fresh air and water based paints are not going to cause any harm.
A.

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C.S.

answers from Sacramento on

I painted my son's room when I was about 22 weeks along, and he was born healthy and wonderful eight months ago! We also had a professional do the rest of our house when I was about 30 weeks along, and I was home for the whole thing. I did a fair amount of research before doing the painting, and came to the same conclusion as your doctor told you--the room should be well-ventilated and the paint should be water-based. Sounds like you followed those "rules," so try not to worry--I'm sure you didn't do your baby any harm! :-) If it stresses you out, don't do any more painting...but try not to worry about what you've already done. I'm sure your baby will not be negatively affected by it.

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M.S.

answers from San Francisco on

A.,

Have someone else paint for you. Get out of the house for at least 6 hours to let the smell subside. I am pregnant and we had to paint the house and the fumes still affected me. I have asthma and had to use a lot more medication during that time. I think when you are pregnant you are more easily affected by fumes and toxins. If you don't have to be around it, I would try to stay away.

Molly

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A.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Personally, I wouldn't paint while pregnant unless I was wearing a mask and / or using low-voc paint which you can get at Benjamin Franklin paint store (I think other brands have it now too.) I don't know if it could hurt the baby, but we tend to breathe heavier while pregnant which means we are breathing in more toxins which are harmful us. Better to be safe is my opinion...

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T.P.

answers from Sacramento on

You're totally fine as long as it's not lead based paint, which most aren't anymore. Home Depot now carries Fresh Aire which is even safer low/no VOC's. If you are feeling lightheaded, nauseous, etc. then you shouldn't be painting, but you could always wear a mask with windows open if using regular paint. I painted from the time I was pregnant with my first daughter until about 8 1/2 months-different projects, but always in a well ventilated space,taking breaks when needed and she's now 16 months old and amazing, physically and mentally!
Good luck with your new baby.

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M.T.

answers from Sacramento on

Hi,
When I was prego with my fist baby. We were living in Cape cod and had a basement. We did some renovating and I helped my husband seal the basement with some kind of paint. It was a little toxic and had a smell. I was a little worried but nothing happened to my son. He is perfect and healthy 3 year old.

M.

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C.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I didn't personally paint while pregnant, but I had someone pain a hall way, bathroom and three walls in our living room while I was pregnant. He wasn't comfortable painting with no one home so I sat on the couch and read as he painted. I was worried also, but the doctor said it was fine. I did spend a lot of the day sitting on the porch and then coming inside. My daughter is fine, despite the paint. If I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't, but what's done is done!

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I've painted rooms (and houses) while pregnant with each of my four kids - and I did always use water based paint with the windows open or outside. Everyone was fine! I think your baby will be OK!!

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B.H.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi A.:

Dont worry, I was told the same thing by my doctor. As long as the room is ventilated and the fumes have some where to go, you should be fine. I painted my daughter's room and i was about 7 months pregnant and she's a very healthy happy little girl. Dont worry, i'm sure your baby will be healthy and happy too.

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K.V.

answers from San Francisco on

We bought our house when I was 7 months pregnant and painted the entire interior before my daughter was born in September of '05. I had all the windows open and took frequent fresh air breaks. She's now a perfect, reading 3 year old! Don't worry!

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C.D.

answers from San Francisco on

I helped paint the outside trim of our house when I was 5 month pregnant and had no problems. Just open a few windows and maybe try a fan for good circulation. there are now some good non toxic paint companies out there that you may want to try to ease your mind and baby, but I would not worry about it too much

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A.M.

answers from San Francisco on

Most major paint labels now have low VOC (volital organic compounds?) paints -- there is barely any smell at all. My children are both sensitive to chemicals/strong smells and we were able to paint all our bedrooms with no problems. The paints are a bit more expensive, but it is worth it. There is also an additive you can put in regular paint to neutralize the smell. I'm sorry that I don't know what it is called, but if you ask at a good paint store they can help with that. Good luck,
A.

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G.A.

answers from San Francisco on

We bought a house Jan 08 and the whole inside needed to be painted. I found out I was pregnant Feb 08 and did some painting but stopped due to 1st trimester and morning sickness. The baby's room didn't get painted til I was about 7months and I painted it myself and then repainted at 8 months with the colors I wanted and my baby is fine. She was born Nov 5th and shows absolutely no problems. I did have the window open and the ceiling fan going on medium to high speed so I could vent the room. I was nervous about it to but with alot of venilation, I felt better.

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B.R.

answers from Sacramento on

Did you follow the Drs advice regarding water based paint (and we should all be using that in our homes these days anyway) and having air flow in the room? If so, there should be no problem at all. Worrying about it is probably more harmful to your baby than using the paint could have been.
We have so many cautions about everything these days and while it's good to know dangers, sometimes I think we've become a nation of worry-warts because of too much information.
Try to just relax and enjoy your pregnancy. I could tell you some horror stories about things that happened during some of my pregnancies, and the babies came out fine, but those wouldn't do you any good. Just remember that baby is wrapped in a wonderful cozy place for as much protection as possible and you can withstand a lot of trauma without it affecting the baby at all.

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K.A.

answers from San Francisco on

I've busily been painting my nursery for the past 2 weeks. I asked my OB and he said that as long as I didn't actually ingest the paint and kept the area well ventilated that it's totally fine. Have fun!

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L.A.

answers from San Francisco on

Sorry, for some reason I answered the wrong question!

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K.P.

answers from Stockton on

i painted while i was pregnant and nothing happened at all i was 8 months pregnant when this happened and my baby boy was perfectly healthy

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K.D.

answers from San Francisco on

hello =) congrats on your pregnancy!!!
my name is kris and im 12 weeks pregnant! i specialize in green home & office design. & i totally understand your concern... i would have suggested to use a paint that has low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound). VOCs are very harmful to anyone... you know you are breathing it if you smell that chemical smell. i dont want to freak you out but after painting, the VOCs off-gases for 6 months to 2 years. Anything and everything (except for eco-friendly materials) pretty much has these VOCs: new furniture, new floor materials, new rugs & carpet (which can off-gas for 5 yrs). This is because they are all made with and treated with chemicals.

you can repaint the room with low- or no- VOC paint and it will help seal the other paint you used. my favorite brand is YOLO COLORHOUSE. they have great colors, inspired by nature, and you can get them at almost any Kelly Moore store.

As for any new things youve got for the babys room or the house in general... id take it out of the box as soon as you get it and air it out for a few days before putting it inside.
If the eco-friendly furniture out there is too expensive for you (as it is for me) buying something that is used of of craigslist and just cleaning it well (with natural cleaners) is far more healthy than brand new.
There are also a lot of choices for carpets and rugs that are healthy for your family.... choose ones made of wool or other natural fibers. They even have chemical-free carpet pads.

Please feel free to email me or call me @ ###-###-#### if you have anymore questions or concerns!

Kris
[email protected]____.com

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M.A.

answers from San Francisco on

You'll be fine either way with good ventilation, but why expose yourself to fumes? Just paint with Low VOC or No VOC paint. (VOC = volatile organic compounds) That way there are no fumes, and the room will not smell bad either. The bad smell comes from the off-gasing of the toxic paint. If no off-gasing is necessary, than you and the entire family will be fine. Now that these special paints exist I would never expose the famly to the stinky gases again! Hope that was helpful!

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A.T.

answers from Stockton on

If you uze VOC free latex paint you are fine. Keep the windowz open - run a fan and drink a lot of water. Alzo don't bend over to the point your head iz below your heart - you could faint.
Take frequent breakz.
I uzed Benjamin Moore paint and the $mell wa$ out of the air within an hour, it goez on nice and $mooth and coverz great - it'z worth the trip and the extra co$t. My mom haz a$thma and it didn't bother her at all - $he waz amazed.
My $on broke my keyboard - $orry for the creative zpelling!

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T.W.

answers from San Francisco on

As far as how bad the fumes are for you I cannot really say however my husband is a painter and a trick I learned from him for the smell is to put a little vanilla extract into the paint and stir it up then you will smell vanilla instead of paint. Good Luck!

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L.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi You can get healthy paint-for you and the room-total air quality-you want paint that has low -NO Voc's Volitile organic compounds-not sure where you are but there is a store in Berkeley-ecohome that has lots of paint brands-I think one is callet Mythic or myystic? but just do a search online-good luck you want you , and all of you to breathe healthy-not just water based will do...L.

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S.M.

answers from Stockton on

Hi A.,
My SIL painted her cabinets while preggers (funny, her name is A. too), and she was just fine.
You have the ok from the doc, however always do what you think is best. Trust your instinct.
so if you are aprehensive, then don't paint. Remeber to ask for help...people want to help pregnant women. Not sure why, they just do. Probably because you look so cute!!
Good Luck!

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J.K.

answers from Redding on

probably not the best idea, but most of us have done it b/c of nesting, room switches, etc. i wouldnt worry too much, but throw an extra fan in there. if you can afford low-voc paints, they make a huge difference

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