Nails, Manicures and Pedicures During Pregnancy

Manicure Pedicure Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it can sometimes feel like the most innocuous things are potential hazards. Worrying about harsh chemicals can even affect your ability to relax at a spa day. How much do you really need to worry about getting a mani-pedi while you’re pregnant?

Natural Nail Changes

One of the surprising benefits of pregnancy for many women is stronger, healthier nails. Your body is producing lots of hormones to promote the healthy growth and development of your baby. Those hormones have an effect on your body, as well, and it’s especially noticeable in areas that grow and change frequently anyway. You may have already noticed changes in your skin (whether it’s the fabled pregnancy “glow” or pimply breakouts) and hair (it may feel especially thick and glossy, or change texture). Stronger, shinier nails are temporary, so enjoy them while you can.

If your nails seem to be getting more brittle now that you’re pregnant, take a look at your diet. A lack of some B vitamins, calcium, or iron can contribute to weakened nails. If your doctor says your diet is fine, but your weak nails persist, don’t worry. It’s probably just a quirk of your pregnancy and, like stronger nails for other women, the effect is temporary.

Should I Skip Mani-Pedis During Pregnancy?

The good news: Painting your nails is a safe indulgence during pregnancy. If a little primp and polish is a way for you to relax and feel good, there’s no reason to skip manicures or pedicures. A few considerations can make you more comfortable and put any fears to rest.

First, consider the nail polish itself. Some women worry that harsh chemicals in nail polish can affect the fetus, but there’s no evidence to suggest this. Acrylic nails, which use special glues to help false nails adhere, may have irritating fumes. You might want to double-check with your doctor before scheduling an acrylic nail manicure, since some doctors have differing recommendations about best practices during pregnancy.

Your choice of nail salon makes a big difference for your comfort and safety. Strong smells of nail polish or other chemical products can be especially irritating during pregnancy. Look for a well-ventilated salon, ask to sit near a window, or wear a surgical mask to minimize exposure to fumes.

Make sure that the salon sterilizes equipment thoroughly between uses. Using an autoclave for pedicure tools is the best way to kill off fungus, as well as bacteria. Pregnancy can affect your immune system, so it’s especially important to avoid coming into contact with contaminated tools.

A pedicure can be a particularly relaxing treatment to relieve swollen, aching feet. Just ask your nail technician to avoid rubbing your ankles. The area between the heel and ankle is an acupressure point associated with the uterus. Proponents of acupressure warn that stimulating this area can trigger contractions.

At-Home Spa Treatments: Your Safest Option

If nausea from fumes or lingering concerns make it hard to relax at the salon, you can still enjoy some primping. A basin of warm water with fizzing bath salts, lotion, nail polish, and a willing partner are all you need. Enlisting your partner to treat you to some care can be a sweet opportunity to daydream about your little one together.

Jessica Sillers
Jessica Sillers is a parenting and finance writer whose work has been featured in Pregnancy & Newborn, Headspace, and more. As a new mom herself, she’s passionate about helping other parents find the community and support they need. When she’s not writing, she loves spending time with her family, reading, and hiking.

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