Should You Paint While Pregnant?

Many mums-­to-­be start ‘nesting’ before their baby arrives and look forward to their maternity leave so that they can start preparing by making the home ‘baby safe’ and painting and decorating the nursery.

But should pregnant mums be painting when they are pregnant and if so, which paint should they opt for?

It is recommended that you opt for paints that offer Zero VOCs and Zero Toxins.

Paints can really differ and most conventional paints will contain harmful VOCs that may impact not only the mother’s health but also the health of the unborn child. So what are VOCs? These are Volatile Organic Compounds, solvents such as white spirit, which evaporate as paint dries, releasing pollutants into the environment. 

These VOCs are commonly found in many paints and can often exacerbate health problems such as asthma and other respiratory problems as well as potentially causing neuro-­developmental birth defects and sometimes even cancer.

However, getting someone else to do the painting won’t always solve the problem for pregnant mums as the VOCs used in the conventional paints are released when the paint is fresh and scarily, sometimes up to 5 years after the painting has been done.


The safest option for you, your family and your unborn baby is to opt for zero VOCs and zero toxin paints.

Pregnant couple paintingChoose a Zero VOCs paint 

Reducing the toxins in your home benefits everyone especially those with allergies and those sensitivities to chemicals. You will also find that zero toxin paints have little or no hazardous fumes and this means low odour during application once the paint has dried. And, because there is no ‘off-gassing,’ the rooms and areas that you have painted can be occupied sooner with no complaints about the odour.

Meaning of Zero VOC paints.

It is relevant to say that many paints listed as Zero VOC actually are not. There is no such thing as a 100 per cent Zero VOC paint, it simply means the paint manufacturer have managed to keep their VOC levels really low.

Low vs zero VOC paints?

Low VOCs paints are not the same as those classed as Zero VOCs paints but still, they are not as bad for your health as the more harmful solvent or lead-based paints.  

Avoid ‘green’ eco paints

Yes, you heard us right! You may want to avoid ECO paints (also know as 'green' paints) because these often produce VOCs. An eco and environmentally friendly paint does not necessarily mean a zero VOC paint. Whereas Eco paints are designed to be better for the environment,  this may no longer be your main concern where the health of a new baby and other family members are concerned. 

Avoid solvent-based paints

It is difficult to measure the substances and chemicals your body absorbs when painting, but you should always avoid solvent-­based paints

Never live with lead-based paints

Thankfully, lead-based paints have been discontinued but if you live in an older house which features lead paint, you must remove it immediately. These paints are very harmful to both you and your baby.

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