Pregnancy & ManicuresWhen you are pregnant, you need to think twice before doing things that you did regularly otherwise. Beauty treatments are one of them.

There are several salon services which you must avoid during pregnancy; but when it comes to manicures, they are considered safe enough. Here is a little guide for you to know what precautions you must take when you go for a manicure session.

Manicures are considered safe during pregnancy as long as the manicurist uses tools that have been sterilized between clients. Some pregnant women choose to bring their own manicure supplies to the salon in order to reduce the risk of infection. A manicure involves soaking, cutting, filing and buffing nails. In most cases, nail polish is applied to nails after the manicure is complete. While manicures are considered safe during pregnancy, there is some evidence that nail polish may not be so safe.

At home manicures are a healthy alternative to salon-based services. Home manicures can be completed by a friend, family member or partner. Combining a home manicure with a home pedicure is a great way for a partner to provide a much needed service, while making a pregnant woman feel more beautiful. 

For women who experience nail changes during pregnancy, such as weak and brittle nails, it may be best to trim nails at home and apply a clear strengthening polish in a well-ventilated area. Acrylic nails are not typically advised during pregnancy, mainly due to all the chemicals used during their application.



The Risks

Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should make sure that whatever salon you choose practices good hygiene. When tools aren’t properly sterilized, you risk developing skin or nail infections. These infections can show up right away, or they can take weeks or months to develop. Types include:

  • Bacterial infections, like paronychia, may start with swelling, redness, or heat around your manicured fingernails or toenails. Treatment for this type of infection might mean taking antibiotics or getting an incision to drain the affected area.
  • Fungal infections, like athlete's foot, can turn your nails yellow. Your nails might show signs of lifting off your fingers as well. Treatment for nail fungus is usually in the form of oral or topical medication. 
  • Viral infections include plantar warts that you pick up at the salon or spa. The spots you’ll see with this type of infection vary in color and are callus-like. Plantar warts can be treated with topical medications.

Most nail products, from primers, to polish, to polish remover, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It’s interesting to note that the way a product smells doesn’t necessarily indicate its safety. Some polishes may be very stinky but pose little risk. Others may have no smell at all but contain potent chemicals.


Exposure to chemicals 

While getting your manicure or pedicure, you may be exposed to the following:

  • Toluene, a chemical that’s also found in gasoline. It may cause anything from reproductive issues to dizziness.
  • Formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen that’s also used to preserve dead things. You should avoid inhalation and skin contact.
  • Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which is classified at a high danger level because it causes reproductive issues, especially in men. This chemical is banned in Europe and may also cause organ issues and disrupt the endocrine system.

The main danger with these chemicals is inhalation, though products may also be absorbed through the skin or accidentally ingested. The good news? VOCs evaporate in the air, so good ventilation can help lessen your exposure to safe levels. You may also choose to avoid polishes and the chemicals used to remove them, and go for the manicured natural look.

Tips for safty

You can still pamper yourself during your pregnancy. Just follow these precautions at the salon or at home:

  • Visit your salon ahead of time to observe their cleaning practices. Pay special attention to the instruments and bowls.
  • Don’t be shy: Ask your salon about their cleaning procedures if you’re skeptical. Autoclaving is the preferred method of sterilizing instruments. It’s what hospitals use to sterilize surgical tools.
  • Also ask about ventilation. Try sitting near a window or fan during your treatment.
  • Microorganisms can enter your body in foot bowls. Skip the salon if you have any cuts, bug bites, scratches, or other open wounds on your feet.
  • If you choose to do your nails at home, make sure you paint them in a well-ventilated room.
  • Consider trying nontoxic nail polishes for a change. Popular blogger Wellness Mama shares that good brands include Scotch NaturalsAcquarellaHoneybee GardensPiggy Paint, and Suncoat.
  • Ask your nail technician to avoid stimulating any pressure points in your hands and feet during massage portions of your treatment.

Many concerns about getting your nails done during pregnancy are much like those with dying your hair. Chemicals are involved in both processes, so you might feel more comfortable waiting until the second trimester for these beauty treatments. 

If you’re still worried about the safety of getting your nails done while pregnant, ask your doctor for additional advice.