Painting During Pregnancy

Painting During Pregnancy: Is it Harmful While Pregnant?

When you are pregnant, you feel more vibrant and blessed than ever before. There is just so much to cherish about being pregnant. You smell happiness everywhere and feel connected to the spirit. However, with pregnancy comes a new set of problems. Many things can go wrong in pregnancy; there are just as many things that can hurt you—painting during pregnancy is no exception to this rule.

When it comes to painting during pregnancy, so many things might pop into your head. For example, is it safe to paint while pregnant? If yes, then what paints should you use during pregnancy? How to paint safely while pregnant?

But there is little information out there relating to whether you can paint the baby room or not while pregnant. This article sheds some light on the common questions surrounding painting while pregnant. Without further ado, read on.

Is it Safe to Paint While Pregnant?

Whether you are in the first or last trimester of pregnancy, you should be fine as long as you are taking proper precautions and using Zero-VOC paints. It is also assumed that paintings used for baby cribs, nurseries, and around the house are mostly safe. 

In some circumstances, your doctor might advise you against painting. For example, many recommend avoiding paint products early in pregnancy, especially in the first three months of pregnancy. So it’s ideal to ask your OB/GYN prior to painting.  

Benefits of Painting for Pregnant Women

Like many other relaxing activities, painting can be therapeutic for expectant mothers in many ways. For example, it can help relieve some of the common emotional difficulties in pregnancy. Studies also show that painting can trigger a surge of dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone in the brain. As a result, your overall well-being in pregnancy dramatically increases.

Pampering yourself with a creative session can also help relax and rejuvenate your mind when you need it most. Therefore, you become better prepared for labor and even the recovery process after childbirth.

But besides these benefits, there are some risks involved with painting if you don’t follow proper precautions.

Risks Associated with Painting during Pregnancy

If you love to paint, it’s essential to know that fumes from the paints and materials you use can harm your unborn baby.

Inhaling paint fumes or paint-related chemicals during pregnancy has been linked to congenital disabilities in babies. Many of these problems often occur during the first three months before many women even know they’re pregnant.

Lead and oil-based paint products mostly contain toxic chemicals. Though not proven, Methylene Chloride, a chemical often found in paint strippers, is considered risky for the developing fetus. Also, solvents in some spray paints are considered very dangerous when painting with lacquers and varnishes. These chemicals might cause congenital disabilities and developmental problems in fetuses.

As you can see, there are both the benefits and risks involved with painting during pregnancy. The key here is to follow some precautions to be on the safer side and enjoy the benefits of painting.

Safety precautions to follow while painting during pregnancy

  • Read the labels about the paint products you plan to use. Look at the list of ingredients and make sure they are non-toxic. If they seem questionable, look them up online or talk to your doctor to find out if they pose any risk to your unborn baby.
  • Wear rubber gloves while doing any tasks that involve chemicals like paint and cleaning products. Apart from keeping your hands clean, they also help avoid any kind of skin irritations.
  • Wear a respirator mask. Avoid painting during hot weather or in an enclosed or poorly ventilated room where the fumes can become trapped.
  • Wear earplugs during your painting session to protect your ears from any chemical fumes emitted from paints or other products used in creating art or decorating your nursery.
  • Avoid working with paint before or after preparing food or eating. The fumes floating in the air can help compromise your health.
  • Wear rubber boots when applying paint outside, especially if the surface is wet.
  • Use drop cloths to keep paint off the floor, furniture, or anything else that should not get paint on it. Drop cloths prevent paint drips from landing on surfaces below your work area.
  • Make yourself comfortable. Try not to do any climbing or stretching while painting. Painting while you’re pregnant should be done in a position that’s comfortable for both you and your baby. Try to keep your back straight. Bracing yourself against the wall or leaning against your belly can unnecessarily strain your back.
  •  Take frequent breaks. If you feel pain in your back, stop painting for the day and get some rest.

However, what if you have already been exposed to the paint? What should you do?

What if you have been exposed to paint already?

The FDA and CDC have both recently issued statements that the likelihood of harm from incidental paint exposure is low.

The vast majority of paints sold today do not contain lead and are probably safe. Consumer labels on paint cans often state, “This product does not contain lead” or “This product contains non-detectable levels of lead.” If you have any doubts, contact the manufacturer or your state health department’s environmental health division to confirm if the paint contains lead.

However, consider the following points just to be on the safe side.

Safe paints you can use while pregnant

There are a few different paints that are safe for pregnant women to use during their pregnancy:

Water-Based Paints- Water-based paint is the safest type of paint to use during pregnancy. The reason for this is that you do not have to worry about inhaling toxic fumes when using water-based paint. You should still take precautions when using water-based paint, such as keeping the room well ventilated and wearing a mask while painting.

Non-Toxic Latex Paints- These types of paint don’t contain any harmful solvents, and they’re considered safe for pregnant women.

Zero-VOC Paints- These types of paint are typically water-based and don’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


If you don’t know, pregnancy can influence your artistic mood. Whether you’re thinking of painting your nails or ready to dust off an old wall with a painting brush, it’s natural to feel puzzled, nervous, or uncomfortable in the beginning. As long as you follow a few safety precautions and have patience, painting during pregnancy can be a great way to both get out of a rut and bond with your baby.

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