Darkroom chemicals and pregnancy - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 8 Old 01-09-2007, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying to find out whether or not I can safely continue taking my photography class this semester, while TTC. I feel pretty confident that this month will be *the* month, which would put me in the dark room during the first four months of pregnancy. Everything I've googled thus far is conflicting - either err on the side of caution and avoid completely, or use tongs/gloves/masks or a ventilated room and all should be well :
I am hoping to stay in the class, and use precautions, although the baby-in-planning will come first. I don't yet have an OB or midwife to ask - I want a homebirth and that's no easy task in the Louisville, KY area (I'll take suggestions in that area, too!)
We will be working with B&W photography exclusively.
What say you, wise mamas?
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#2 of 8 Old 01-10-2007, 02:50 AM
 
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Back in colledge when I studied photography all the proffessors always said that as far as they knew it was safe.

In a basic B&W dark room the most dangerous chemical is the developer b/c it is an alkaline instead of an acid.

If the case goes beyond the basic you then get into chemicals that are less familiar to me. There are toners and I do not remeber how they work. There is dry mounting which would concern me greatly b/c it always gave off a slight smell of burning plastic. There is hand tinting or coloring the prints, which is done with oil based paints which I have heard are a problem.

Even if your class does stay with relatively safe basic B&W darkroom chemicals though you may not be up to working with them. Many women become extreemly sensetive to any odors during the first trimester. When I was pregnant the smell of any food inclueding popcorn and choclate made me horribly sick to my stomach. I wouyldn't have been able to go near a darkroom nevermind work in it creatively.

I guess I'm saying that if your very careful you can take this class, but you would likely have to skip part and might find it a horrible torture if your morningsick (which lasts all day for most of us.)

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#3 of 8 Old 01-10-2007, 09:38 AM
 
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I would be really careful wearing gloves and a mask. I student taught photography at a high school while nursing, I think gloves were the recommended protocol a couple of years ago. It is not as big of a problem as long as you are not the person mixing the chemicals. Talk to your professor, too, because they may have some knowledge.
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#4 of 8 Old 01-12-2007, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas...I am definitely a little worried about the m/s! With my first, I puked for the first 5 months and couldn't even look at a hotdog without getting sick. I am going to keep the class for now and invest in some good quality protective gear (gloves, tongs, apron, mask) and hope for my BFP by next month The professor said he will sign a drop slip at any time if I need, he seems to be a very cool, laid-back guy.
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#5 of 8 Old 01-13-2007, 11:35 PM
 
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I took one of my photo independant studies during my first and second trimesters.

Tongs should be used always anyways! But during the first trimester, I was careful to wear a mask- a respirator, not just a covering. I got some thin latex gloves and didn't have much trouble using them. They were kind of a pain, but didn't hold on to chemicals and transfer them to my paper or anything.

Also, I made the decision to have my film developed for me. It sucked, because I couldn't do my own tweaking to my film, but was a way to cut down on chemical exposure.

I think you'll be ok with basic B&W printing chemicals. And that's usually what a basic photography class is. But, just in case... Stay far away from toning chemicals! If it's an issue with your class assignments, maybe you can work with your professor to find different ways of toning (coffee, tea, koolaid?) or different ways to manipulate your photographs (painting, coloring, etc...).

So fun, though! I miss the darkroom!
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#6 of 8 Old 06-05-2007, 04:40 AM
 
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I just wanted to chime in and say that I took photography in the fall of 2006, and apparently I was pregnant (without knowing) the last month of classes. I talked to my teacher about it, because there are signs ALL OVER THE LAB that state "pregnant women should not take this course". She told me that all should be fine, since my class was only twice per week, and I was only in the darkroom about 5 hours per week. Had I known I was pregnant, though, I probably would have had someone else develop my film and I could have done something else for them. Just to avoid the chemicals.

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#7 of 8 Old 07-03-2007, 06:18 PM
 
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I agree, in the basic class you're not using hard core chemicals (in one of my advanced classes a kid used ether to do wet collodion and I wouldn't recommend that ) so as long as you're not mixing chemicals yourself and use gloves and/or tongs and a mask of some sort I think you'll be okay. I'm no expert though. just have spent a lot of time in the darkroom! The fixer has the worst smell (to me) so definitely make sure you don't get any on your skin or it may make you sick! Also, be sure to get fresh air frequently.
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#8 of 8 Old 07-20-2007, 03:32 AM
 
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definately do not put your hands in the chemicals and don't feel guilty if you are somewhat of a slacker in this course (unless you need a really high grade)

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