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DMCosta

Pregnancy And Working In The Studio?

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Does anyone know the protocol with being pregnant and working with ceramics? I've seen both ends of the spectrum, meaning some women just continue business as usual while others omit from working in the studio all together for the duration of the pregnancy. I have been doing ceramics quite a while so I do recognize some potential issues such as kiln fumes, dust, raw chemicals in glazes..etc.

 

I would like to know opinions of if it is considered "safe" to continue working in the studio.

(For the record I am not pregnancy but my husband and I are considering it soon!)

 

Thanks!

~Dianna

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I've had a few pregnant pottery students, they all kept at it until a few weeks before giving birth. Some of them switched to a stand-up wheel when their bellies got too big to sit down and lean over. Some of them were avid wood-firers, so I recommended they avoid the shift that included salt glazing, and their classmates were happy to help them avoid too much heavy lifting, but otherwise they fully participated. The harder part is after the baby is born, when the new mom has a lot less free time and energy.

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Thanks GEP for the info, I know being a new mom one day will definitely make it challenging to get into the studio. Thankfully, I have my own studio and a super supportive husband that I believe will help!

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Guest JBaymore

FYI....... Our stock policy at the college is that it is 'not recommended' and that the person should themselves talk with their OB-GYN physician and take the toxicology handouts we provide and copies of the MSDSs of the materials they work with to the conversation.

 

best,

 

.....................john

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I'm new to the forum and just getting back into throwing after a loooong break (studio is finally about 3 weeks from being done--yay!). I also happen to be pregnant, so am curious to see how others respond. 

 

I'm not banning myself from the studio, but would have a different attitude if I were using a community studio where I wasn't in control of glaze chemicals, etc... I've divided it up into lower and higher risk activities.

 

I see no issues throwing and working with my clay body (mostly porcelain, but may try some stoneware as I'm getting reacquainted with throwing). As I understand it, the components in the actual clay or clay dust are less of an issue for pregnancy and more a problem b/c of lung/dust--if I'm off base on this would love to be corrected!

 

My kiln is set up in a separate area, well vented and totally away from our living space and my studio space. Still, I plan on having my DH doing most of the kiln checking and will be wearing a respirator if I need to enter the area around firing times.

 

Glazing is a different story and I'll likely limit my exposure to glaze chemicals and glazing, especially spraying. If I decide to do any of this, it will be only with a respirator and protective equipment--long sleeves, gloves, etc... Realistically, it's not too different from how I work non-pg. I'm a recovering scientist, so have had a fair amount of lab safety training, which has made me pretty respectful of working with chemicals. That said, there are certain glaze chemicals I'll probably steer away from during this time and others that I just don't use and don't want in my studio at any time. 

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I didn't worry to much about being in the studio when I was pregnant, but we had one of those record breaking heat waves and I had to stay out of my studio during the summer.  The heat was raising the blood pressure of pregnant women all over the state.  I actually got a lot of work done after my son was 3 months old, my studio was a separate  building from my house.  I had one of the  baby monitor radio sets,  I would work out there for hours listening to him sleep, gurgle and giggle.  The slightest bit of crankiness I would head into the house and check on him.  The period you don't get much done is between 9 months and 3 or 4 years old.   I started taking my son in my shop when he was 3 rolling snakes and playing with clay,  he spent a lot of time in my studio as he grew up.   Denice

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I threw while pregnant with both my kids. My youngest just turned three today!

Be mindful of your SI joint, which is where your pelvis attaches to your spine. Just follow really good back protocols, and leave any heavy lifting to the supportive love of your life. (Not trying to be sexist, but because of your joints loosening, it's waaaay easier to injure yourself than you expect. You will need help, and it's okay.)

I took "mat leave" from my studio work for a year, the same as I did from my paying job. With the two kids I got given, it was really difficult to get into the studio for any length of time, so you get used to working in small increments. But each kid is different. You may find some sort of damp box or cabinet really handy.

 

It changes how you work after. I agree with Denice about the busy ages. My daughter I could take into the studio at a younger age than my son, though.

 

In terms of chemicals, I don't tend to have anything that is absorbed through the skin if I can help it anyways. Just follow really good studio hygiene (no food or drink, wear gloves all the time while glazing,if you're worried, get someone else to mix for you, etc. )

My kids are still not allowed in the studio while I'm glazing. And keep anything remotely dangerous well out of reach, or even under lock and key. Creative parents tend to make...wait for it...creative children! They will find a way into whatever you specifically don't want them into, because Mommy gets to play with it.

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I was the same way about glazing and kept some chemicals under lock and key also.  My son is very artistic but not in clay, he plays several different instruments, writes well, has a good color and style sense.  On top of that he's a math whizz , raising a child in any kind of art studio can expand there horizon in may directions.    Denice

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That's all really great info. I was under the assumption I'd have to forgo doing ceramics throughout the entire duration of pregnancy. Luckily in my studio, I already have my chemicals and sharp tools key locked in a metal cabinet because I teach some kids clay classes over the summer.

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I just started up my studio right after my youngest turned three months,my older son is 2&1/2...on the days when nap times happen and happen together I spend it with my monitors in the studio, I get another two hours in after bedtime. But it's totally unpredictable, I get maybe 15 hours a week at the best...and-only because my husband watches the kids between nursing and diapers and naps... my studio has been live for two months now...still need to hook up my sink, build shelves...but when you're inspired, you make the time.

 

For a first timer, you may be lucky to get sleep so save studio time for those moments when others can watch the baby. I agree with previous posters about the dust, glazes and basic lifting. If you are under 7 months,I'd say most everything is ok otherwise...but after, you need to be in motion more...not so much sitting or standing still...blood will settle and you may get light headed...I have had that with both pregnancies...rest up the last few months, they're the end of your life as you know it...

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