Does having a manicure and pedicure during pregnancy really need a second thought? The process not only keeps the nails and toes clean but also makes you feel nice about it. So, it might be just alright to go ahead with it?
Though the routine looks harmless, it is wise to consider its safety before getting one done. In this post, MomJunction helps you understand how to have a safe mani-pedi routine.
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):
- 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.
- Avoid eating or drinking in the salon. This way, you can avoid ingesting any harmful chemicals that get into your nails or fingers.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Mix equal portions of olive oil and brown sugar.
- Take a handful of it, and massage your hands and nails (or legs and feet).
- Soak your fingertips (or feet) in a bathtub containing warm water and a few drops of body wash.
- Remove from the warm water and pat dry your fingertips (or feet).
- Apply your favorite moisturizer (or cuticle softener cream) and massage the nails.
- Using a cuticle stick, push back the cuticle on each fingernail (or toenail).
- Clip and file your fingernails and toenails to the desired shape.
- Massage with lotion, and wipe each nail dry.
- 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.
|Chemical||Found in||Exposure symptoms||Long-term effects|
|Toluene||Nail polish, nail glue||Headaches, dizziness, skin rash, eye, nose and throat irritation||Kidney damage, liver damage, pregnancy loss, birth defects|
|Dibutyl phthalate||Nail polish||Dizziness, nausea, skin and eye irritation||Birth defects|
|Formaldehyde/ Methylene glycol||Nail polish, nail hardener||Breathing problems, skin rashes, wheezing, eye, nose and throat irritation||Dermatitis and cancer|
|Methyl methacrylate (MMA)||Artificial nails||Chest tightness, breathing problems, headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation||Reproductive toxin, asthma, and loss of smell|
|Acetone||Nail polish remover||Dizziness, skin, eye and throat irritation|
|Acetonitrile||Nail glue remover||Chest tightness, nausea, facial redness, ski, eye and throat irritation||Exhaustion and weakness|
|Methacrylic acid||Eyelash glue and nail primer||Skin burn, eye, nose and throat irritation||Dermatitis, and kidney damage|
|Butyl acetate, isopropyl acetate or ethyl acetate||Nail polish and nail polish remover||Headaches, dizziness, skin, eye and throat irritation||Dermatitis, eye, skin and throat irritation|
In order to avoid these risks, see if you can take a break from work during your pregnancy or follow all the safety measures to avoid any risk to you or your baby.
An occasional manicure or pedicure is not only harmless but also needed. You will feel relaxed and energetic by pampering yourself. So, go ahead and pamper yourself, while following the safety measures that we have mentioned above.
Do you have any more tips to share? Write to us in the comments section below.
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