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Old 02-01-2013, 08:05 AM
J022 J022 is offline
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Oil painting during pregnancy?

I don't know why I haven't thought about this until now. I am 30 weeks pregnant and have been oil painting for the past few weeks. I decided on a whim to do a quick google search, and was surprised to find out that it may not be recommended?! I had no idea.

I don't have a lot of time to paint anyway, as I'm pretty much limited to when my 2 year old naps, so never more than an hour or two at a time. At the moment, since I'm just starting out, I've been using student grade paints. I do use odorless paint thinner.

Do I really need to give it up do you think? I know, I know, ask my doctor - and I will, although I bet she hasn't been asked very often in this rural community, and usually when a doctor doesn't know, they take a better safe than sorry approach. I suppose I could give it up for the next 10 weeks, it's just been a long miserable pregnancy and painting has really been lifting my spirits.

Do you think opening the window for ventilation and being careful not to get paint on my hands would be enough?
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Last edited by J022 : 02-01-2013 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:19 AM
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mariposa-art mariposa-art is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice!

To be more non-toxic, use all nontoxic paints (no cadmium, cobalt, lead) and use a "non-toxic" thinner like Turpenoid Natural. That should be better. But whether it's enough, or whether there is some other reason other than the toxicity of paint thinner and the toxicity of some pigments, I don't know.

But I would guess that if every single product you use has a "non-toxic" label on it, it would be good. Since many oil paints are non-toxic, and since Turpenoid Natural is labeled as non-toxic, that would qualify. Or you can use water-mixable oils (though they take some getting used to).

Some artists also go solvent-free and don't use any sort of turps or substitute. Do a Google search on "solvent-free painting" and you'll get some threads from WetCanvas, as well as other links. Here's one blogger's stuff on solvent-free: http://danielrigos.com/blog/tag/solv...-oil-painting/
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:25 AM
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DAK723 DAK723 is online now
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

First off, if you are using solvent - even odorless mineral spirits (which is the least toxic compared to turps and regular mineral spirits) you need adequate ventilation. This is true for everyone - not just pregnant women! And adequate ventilation means an exchange of air in the room, not just one window open.

Your google search probably mentioned that solvents were the most harmful ingredient in oil painting. So, if possible, paint solvent free. This is probably a bigger issue if you are painting the baby's room, too - which involves a lot more paint and exposure.

As you yourself mention, this is an issue for you to discuss with your physician. It is quite possible - no matter where you live - that the doctor may not have had to address this issue too many times if at all. If she doesn't know, then ask her to find out. That is the doctor's job.

Personally, if you can't give up oil painting during the rest of the pregnancy for the benefit of your child...well, I'll let you finish the thought.

You could, of course, paint in watercolors or acrylics for the duration.

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Last edited by DAK723 : 02-01-2013 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:45 AM
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Freesail Freesail is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Ask your doctor, no one here should give any medical advice.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:48 AM
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

There are quite a lot of threads on this subject, just search the word pregnancy. I didn't give up my oils when I was pregnant (or immediately after) and everything was ok but obviously use common sense and talk to your doctor. You don't need solvent, which is really the main issue, and there are a ton of threads on that as well.
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:50 AM
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Freesail is right, of course!

If you suspect your doctor hasn't encountered this a lot, he or she might want to err on the side of caution and tell you not to paint. (And obviously, erring on the side of caution wouldn't be a bad thing if nobody's sure.)

What you could do when you go to the doctor is present them with as many options as you are aware of, so they have a full picture of your possibilities. All non-toxic paints (no cadmium, cobalts, lead or other toxic ingredients), non-toxic thinner substitutes? Wear gloves? Good ventilation? Water-mixable oils (non-toxic pigments only)? Investigate your options and ask your doctor about all of them. Otherwise, they may not be aware of what products are out there currently, and may give you a blanket "No!" based on outdated information.

But the main thing is, get the green light from your doctor. My non-medical opinion is that since there are so many products and alternatives out there, that you could have reason to be optimistic. But only if your doctor says so. There may be some other factor that none of us have thought of that would make it a big "no," regardless of all the options and non-toxic products out there. You'll just have to ask and find out.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:18 AM
J022 J022 is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Of course I can and will give up oil painting for the sake of my child if necessary Don. I don't know if you've ever been pregnant, but they do tend to be overly cautious, because there are those out there that don't use common sense - not just with painting, but with everything from eating deli meat, to changing cat litter. Sometimes it feels like they expect you to live in a bubble for 9 months. Avoid stress, don't lift anything over 30 pounds (I have a two year old, so both of those are out the window - ha!)..

Rest assured, I will ask my doctor and follow her advice.

Thank you Mariposa for all the information!! I think at this point, with 2.5 months left in my pregnancy, if I told my husband I wanted to invest in a bunch of new, non-toxic materials, he might be less than enthusiastic, but I will look into it. Maybe if they aren't too pricey he will go for it.

I am really bummed out.. and I feel bad that I exposed my baby already without knowing. Motherhood - man what a drag!! (Totally kidding of course)
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:04 AM
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

I am not a doctor and therefore agree with the others that you should ask your doctor. That said I am also one of the people that believe oil paint toxicity and the hoopla that gets thrown around over it might be a little over the top in relation to the environment we live it.
IMO there are as many if not more dangers in the water we drink (fluoride and chlorine) the foods we put in our bodies (chemicals, pesticides, dyes, GMO's) household cleaning products and the list goes on. Did you know that if you have beautiful granite counter tops in your kitchen there is a good chance that they are releasing high amounts of radon into your home?
If I were pregnant I would paint without solvent, wash my hands, maybe wear gloves though I am not a messy painter so I don't typically have that problem. I would still use cads, cobalts but with care and caution. That is my 2 cents.
I hope you find a way to work it out with a 2 yr old and another baby on the way it is important to make "me" time as well as mommy time.

Last edited by Bellaskye : 02-01-2013 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:37 PM
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Barbareola Barbareola is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

I am not a doctor. Nor do I know if you have some kind of medical issue - like an allergy or whatever - that would make special considerations.

What I can tell you is what guidelines the schools in my federal country in Germany demand in regards to oil colours.

Which is that you should not sand subjects painted with oil colours, so that no dust with heavy metals can get in the air. Do *not* clean your hands with solvents. Wipe them on paper first, then clean them with detergent. Make sure that you can't drink solvent by accident. Use gloves with detergent.

Those guidelines tend to be on the paranoid side. In the schools we may not assume that the girls in our classes are *not* pregnant or that they would alert us about a pregnancy in time. So basically the guidelines have to work for pregnant as as well as non-pregnant students and teachers.

Maybe those guidelines are a kind of orientation for you.
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:24 PM
mickeyw3340 mickeyw3340 is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Why not take this time to dabble in watercolor or acrylics, or maybe pastels? I have done them all, but prefer oil...but I still pick them up once in a while as a diversion.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:19 PM
J022 J022 is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbareola
I am not a doctor. Nor do I know if you have some kind of medical issue - like an allergy or whatever - that would make special considerations.

What I can tell you is what guidelines the schools in my federal country in Germany demand in regards to oil colours.

Which is that you should not sand subjects painted with oil colours, so that no dust with heavy metals can get in the air. Do *not* clean your hands with solvents. Wipe them on paper first, then clean them with detergent. Make sure that you can't drink solvent by accident. Use gloves with detergent.

Those guidelines tend to be on the paranoid side. In the schools we may not assume that the girls in our classes are *not* pregnant or that they would alert us about a pregnancy in time. So basically the guidelines have to work for pregnant as as well as non-pregnant students and teachers.

Maybe those guidelines are a kind of orientation for you.

Thanks - this makes a lot of sense to me. In art school, the instructor never mentioned that if there is any chance of pregnancy, that you should not take the class.. and there were plenty of women in my classes.

I've been researching the subject a bit more, and you guys are right about the solvent being the most hazardous to handle. That is not a problem to give up. I can use linseed oil, or buy another non-toxic thinner. I've never used it to wash my hands or anything anyway, only to clean brushes.

I have also found in my research that painting should be done with caution while breastfeeding as well, which I plan to do for at least a year, so perhaps it would be worth investing in some new non-toxic materials as mariposa recommended.

Thank you guys for the input!! I still need to talk to my doctor.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:24 PM
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

I don't get all the fuss. You have to not touch or inhale certain pigments; you have to have ventilation for spirits. If you are cautious (maybe wear gloves) there is no reason not to keep painting. I mean with paints that carry a 'safe' label of course. Work with tubed paints that are organic, and use a non-toxic medium, and paint away No, I'm not a doctor...but I see no reason to stop painting if you read the label
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:34 PM
dafy dafy is offline
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

>>Personally, if you can't give up oil painting during the rest of the pregnancy for the benefit of your child...well, I'll let you finish the thought.

I can't imagine a more wonderful time to paint, if done with caution. What you said is political and based on your belief system, not at all a question of safety during pregnancy, nor the health considerations of painting. Uneducated, religiopolitical BS.

Last edited by dafy : 02-01-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:11 PM
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Probably a lot of the paint you already have in your paintbox are non-toxic. Look at the labels on the tubes. Very likely you could form a palette of colors with what you have already.

Do some studies or limited palette paintings only using colors like Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, and Burnt Sienna (you can do a lot with just these). Or let's say, Yellow Ochre, Alizarin Crimson (Perm if you have it and as long as it's nontoxic) and Ultramarine Blue, plus white. Or pick three "primaries" (non-toxic) and Titanium White or Titanium/Zinc White.

Many days I use a completely non-toxic palette without even making the effort! So you may not have to buy all new paints!

Of course again you need to clear all of this with your doctor.

And if this is going to be a long-term life adjustment due to being cautious during breast-feeding, there are some nice colors that will "substitute" for the cobalts and cadmiums. I don't personally get too worried about dealing with cads etc, because I'm not a messy painter. But I'm finding that there are many colors that are non-toxic and very nice in the red and yellow range. So you could start building your nontoxic palette gradually.

Last edited by mariposa-art : 02-01-2013 at 07:14 PM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:46 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is online now
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Re: Oil painting during pregnancy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dafy
>>Personally, if you can't give up oil painting during the rest of the pregnancy for the benefit of your child...well, I'll let you finish the thought.

I can't imagine a more wonderful time to paint, if done with caution. What you said is political and based on your belief system, not at all a question of safety during pregnancy, nor the health considerations of painting. Uneducated, religiopolitical BS.

With all due respect, my statement is neither political, uneducated nor BS. Nor is it based upon some sort of "belief system." The hazardous nature of solvents is fairly well documented. A quick google search will reveal that numerous websites specifically created for pregnancy health issues recommend limiting the exposure to solvents. My recommendation is to talk to her doctor. If I am guilty of anything, it is the philosophy of "better to be safe than sorry."

Here is a link to the hazardous nature of solvents:

http://www.chicagoartistsresource.or...nd-substitutes

I might add that solvents such as Turpenoid Natural have sparked a good deal of debate on these forums regarding whether or not they are really much safer. Since I am not a chemist, I can not answer the question, but there have been quite a few members over the years that have had backgrounds in chemistry that have suggested that there are chemicals in Turpenoid Natural that are unhealthy. So a "non-toxic" label does not necessarily mean that it is OK to use during pregnancy.

Don
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