Is It Safe to Get Manicure And Pedicure When Pregnant?

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Getting your hands and feet cared for is extremely relaxing. However, you may be doubtful about having a manicure and pedicure during pregnancy. The beauty treatment helps keep the finger and toenails clean and leaves you with a pleasant feeling. So it may not be a bad idea to pamper your hands and feel good during this period.

Although the process is harmless, it is wise to know the safety measures before going for it during pregnancy. Read this post as we tell you all about the safety measures to follow during a mani-pedi session.

Is It Safe To Get A Manicure Or Pedicure During Pregnancy?

Yes, both manicure and pedicure are safe, and there is no need to give them up when you are pregnant. Getting your nails and toes done is a perfect way to pamper your hands and legs. They are also known to relieve stress, reduce swelling, and improve circulation.

You may worry about the chemicals present in the nail grooming products. The truth is your nail bed absorbs a negligible amount of them, and it could hardly have any impact on your fetal health.

The salon might use the same tools for different customers. The nail tools and products may carry infections if they are not sterilized and cleaned thoroughly. And this could put the mother and the baby at risk of contracting bacterial, fungal or viral infections.

Mani-pedi services are safe as long as the salon follows hygienic practices. There is the likeliness of risk if the tools are not properly sterilized, which could lead to infections (1).

Does Pedicure Induce Labor?

There is a belief that having a pedicure could induce labor. However, there is no research to support this. Sometimes, reflexology or some pressure points in the feet, upon stimulation, might trigger uterine contractions and induce labor (2).

Though there are no studies to show that pedicure can induce labor, tell the pedicurist not to massage the points near the ankles, especially in the later stages of pregnancy.

Tips For A Safe Manicure Or Pedicure During Pregnancy

Try to have mani-pedi at home so that you can avoid the chemical stench in the salon. However, getting it done at a salon is also not harmful. Whether it is at home or salon, follow certain precautions when you are having nail services (3) (4):

  1. Get it done in a well-ventilated area. Chemicals mixed in the air might cause nausea that can ruin your pampering session. Ventilation helps let out the chemical fumes, if any, from out of the room. Check with the salon if it has open windows and proper ventilation.
  1. Avoid eating or drinking in the salon. This way, you can avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals that get into your nails or fingers.
  1. Know what is being used. Salons use different chemicals such as toluene, acetone, and formaldehyde that could be harmful when they come in direct contact with your skin. Let your salon person know that you are pregnant so that they are careful while using toxic products.
  1. Check the health inspection record of the salon. You can access these records on the internet. Research or ask your friends and neighbors (who are regular to the salon) about the cleanliness practices at the place.
  1. Get your own mani-pedi sets. Though expensive, bringing your own sets will reduce the chances of any infection. Also, choose for the first session in the morning as all the tools will be freshly cleaned at that time of the day.
  1. Do not get nails and toes done if you have broken skin. The wounds or cuts on your hands or feet might absorb the infections into the body.

The absorption of these chemicals might be in small amounts and harmless. However, if you want to eliminate any risk associated with salon nail treatments, you may try some simple mani-pedi at home.

Simple DIY Manicure/ Pedicure You May Try At Home

If you have the required tools and products, you can pamper yourself at home. Just follow our simple steps:

  1. Mix equal portions of olive oil and brown sugar.
  1. Take a handful of it, and massage your hands and nails (or legs and feet).
  1. Soak your fingertips (or feet) in a bathtub containing warm water and a few drops of body wash.
  1. Remove from the warm water and pat dry your fingertips (or feet).
  1. Apply your favorite moisturizer (or cuticle softener cream) and massage the nails.
  1. Using a cuticle stick, push back the cuticle on each fingernail (or toenail).
  1. Clip and file your fingernails and toenails to the desired shape.
  1. Massage with lotion, and wipe each nail dry.
  1. Polish them with your favorite nail color.

During pregnancy, your manicure and pedicure routine can be as pleasant as ever if you follow the safety tips or have the routine done at home. However, if you are working in a salon and deal with the mani-pedi process every day, then you might want to know the risks involved in it.

What Could Be The Risks Of Doing Manicure And Pedicure When Pregnant?

If you work in a salon, you could be exposed to certain risks as mentioned below (5):

  • Chemicals: Getting exposed to chemicals such as toluene, acetone, and formaldehyde could be toxic. Most nail products, including nail polishes and removers, contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) with potent chemicals. You may happen to accidentally ingest these chemicals.
  • Lack of proper ventilation: VOCs evaporate if there is proper ventilation. But lack of it will expose you to the fumes that could cause nausea and vomiting.
    It will be helpful for you to know the chemicals used in the nail salons, and the effects they are likely to have on you.

Exposure To Toxic Chemicals In Nail Salons

You will be exposed to several chemicals in the nail salons. Below is the list of harmful chemicals that are frequently used in the salons and their effects (5). Note that the long-term effects are likely to occur only if you have been working in a nail salon every day for a long time, but not happen if you are only visiting the place occasionally.

ChemicalFound in Exposure symptomsLong-term effects
TolueneNail polish, nail glueHeadaches, dizziness, skin rash, eye, nose and throat irritationKidney damage, liver damage, pregnancy loss, birth defects
Dibutyl phthalateNail polishDizziness, nausea, skin and eye irritationBirth defects
Formaldehyde/ Methylene glycolNail polish, nail hardenerBreathing problems, skin rashes, wheezing, eye, nose and throat irritationDermatitis and cancer
Methyl methacrylate (MMA)Artificial nailsChest tightness, breathing problems, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritationReproductive toxin, asthma, and loss of smell
AcetoneNail polish removerDizziness, skin, eye and throat irritation
AcetonitrileNail glue removerChest tightness, nausea, facial redness, ski, eye and throat irritationExhaustion and weakness
Methacrylic acidEyelash glue and nail primerSkin burn, eye, nose and throat irritationDermatitis, and kidney damage
Butyl acetate, isopropyl acetate or ethyl acetateNail polish and nail polish removerHeadaches, dizziness, skin, eye and throat irritationDermatitis, eye, skin and throat irritation

Pampering yourself during pregnancy is a must as your body requires attention and care to cope with all the changes it is undergoing. Therefore, do not hesitate to get a manicure and pedicure while pregnant, as they may help relieve stress and improve your body’s blood circulation. However, remember to maintain certain precautions, such as not drinking anything in the salon and gathering information about the products used while you are there, to avoid any unwanted complications. In addition, consider getting your mani-pedi done at home to reduce your exposure to unwanted chemicals.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
1. Sarah Jarvis et al.; Pregnancy For Dummies
2. Paul Nijar; Everything I Thought I Was & What I Came to Be
3. Nail hygiene: How to ensure manicure and pedicure safety; Texas Medical Center
4. How to Get a Safe Manicure or Pedicure; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (2018)
5. Health Hazards in Nail Salons – Overview; Occupational Safety and Health Administration
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Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more