Three Common Questions During Pregnancy

Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

Three common questions during pregnancy

During the course of my practice, I’ve had the pleasure of answering a variety of questions from many mommies-to-be. Following are my top three!

1. Can I paint the baby’s nursery?

Although there are no good studies regarding the use of household paint during pregnancy, most obstetricians reassure patients that most modern paints likely pose low levels of risk.  If one is dealing with removal of very old paint, caution should be taken in case it is lead based.  Modern paints do contain multiple solvents, but not lead.  Lead in paint or paint dust may elevate one’s risk for preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, damage to fetal organs (brain, kidney, and nerves), and may cause learning disabilities or behavioral problems. 

I recommend that pregnant women who want to do the painting themselves wait until after the first trimester, and wear gloves and a mask while painting.  They should also try to work in a well-ventilated area, preferably with open windows.  Lastly, they should purchase low odor and low/zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paints to minimize risks of exposure to cancer causing substances as well as noxious fumes.  

2. Can I color my hair during pregnancy?

This is another vastly understudied area.  With the exception of one small retrospective study in 2005* which cited a possible association with maternal hair dye use and the development of neuroblastoma (cancer) in their children, no other recent data exists to support women not dying their hair while they are pregnant.  The majority of obstetricians’ thought is that since hair dye is topical, very little will actually penetrate a woman’s skin.  I discuss with my patients who choose to apply their own hair color to use gloves during the application and to keep the dye on only as long as needed, rinsing their scalp thoroughly after the application is complete.  They should have the color done after the first trimester is completed and in a well ventilated area, whether that is at home or in a salon.

*McCall, Erin E, et al.  Maternal hair dye use and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring. Cancer Causes & Control. August 2005, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 743-748

3. Can I get a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic care while I am pregnant?

I'll be honest and admit that my “MD” training in the 1990’s taught me that anything not done by an “MD”, or a “DO” for a woman’s obstetric care, was not only not beneficial, but could be harmful as well. In the appropriately trained and licensed hands, all three of these modalities may afford a pregnant woman a great deal of relief from back, shoulder, and pelvic pain.  I routinely recommend that my patients seek out professionals in these fields when solutions that are within my training skill set are not helping or are not affecting a completely resolution to the problem. The discussion I have with my patients includes investigating the comfort level, training, and experience that professionals in these fields have with pregnant women, as well as at what gestational ages they are comfortable working with pregnant women.

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.

Three Common Questions During Pregnancy

04/26/2016 - Contributed by: Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG.

Three common questions during pregnancy

During the course of my practice, I’ve had the pleasure of answering a variety of questions from many mommies-to-be. Following are my top three!

1. Can I paint the baby’s nursery?

Although there are no good studies regarding the use of household paint during pregnancy, most obstetricians reassure patients that most modern paints likely pose low levels of risk.  If one is dealing with removal of very old paint, caution should be taken in case it is lead based.  Modern paints do contain multiple solvents, but not lead.  Lead in paint or paint dust may elevate one’s risk for preterm labor, fetal growth restriction, damage to fetal organs (brain, kidney, and nerves), and may cause learning disabilities or behavioral problems. 

I recommend that pregnant women who want to do the painting themselves wait until after the first trimester, and wear gloves and a mask while painting.  They should also try to work in a well-ventilated area, preferably with open windows.  Lastly, they should purchase low odor and low/zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paints to minimize risks of exposure to cancer causing substances as well as noxious fumes.  

2. Can I color my hair during pregnancy?

This is another vastly understudied area.  With the exception of one small retrospective study in 2005* which cited a possible association with maternal hair dye use and the development of neuroblastoma (cancer) in their children, no other recent data exists to support women not dying their hair while they are pregnant.  The majority of obstetricians’ thought is that since hair dye is topical, very little will actually penetrate a woman’s skin.  I discuss with my patients who choose to apply their own hair color to use gloves during the application and to keep the dye on only as long as needed, rinsing their scalp thoroughly after the application is complete.  They should have the color done after the first trimester is completed and in a well ventilated area, whether that is at home or in a salon.

*McCall, Erin E, et al.  Maternal hair dye use and risk of neuroblastoma in offspring. Cancer Causes & Control. August 2005, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 743-748

3. Can I get a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic care while I am pregnant?

I'll be honest and admit that my “MD” training in the 1990’s taught me that anything not done by an “MD”, or a “DO” for a woman’s obstetric care, was not only not beneficial, but could be harmful as well. In the appropriately trained and licensed hands, all three of these modalities may afford a pregnant woman a great deal of relief from back, shoulder, and pelvic pain.  I routinely recommend that my patients seek out professionals in these fields when solutions that are within my training skill set are not helping or are not affecting a completely resolution to the problem. The discussion I have with my patients includes investigating the comfort level, training, and experience that professionals in these fields have with pregnant women, as well as at what gestational ages they are comfortable working with pregnant women.

 

The views expressed herein are solely the views of Dr. Michael C. Bartfield, M.D., F.A.C.OG. and do not necessarily reflect the views of TherapeuticsMD, Inc. or any of its affiliates. This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.  Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for medical advice.