Manicures and pedicures during pregnancy— Are they safe?

Posted by | January 09, 2020 | LENS, Lifestyle, Pregnancy Medicine | No Comments

There are many beneficial effects associated with the growing body of a pregnant woman. Many women savor the nail and hair growth that often accompanies pregnancy.  These beauty “enhancements” are due to increased hormone production that supports the growing baby and expectant mother. Additionally, a healthy pregnancy diet and prenatal vitamins such as biotin, a B-complex vitamin has been associated with healthy, thick and firm nails.


Given the exponential growth of the pregnant woman’s nails, regularly she contemplates how to best care for her nails.  As such, many women wonder, “are manicures and pedicures safe during pregnancy?”  By most accounts, the answer to this question is “Yes”, with a few precautions.


Health and safety recommendations for nail care include maintaining nail hygiene, such as keeping nails clean and dry; avoiding biting or picking at nails; applying moisturizer to nails; and gently pushing cuticles back instead of cutting them.  As a nail salon client, pregnant women should ensure that fumes from nail polish and other chemicals are routinely cycled out of the building via adequate ventilation. As well, salon products should be sterilized to prevent disease and infection transmission.


There are benefits and harms associated with personal and professional nail care. Grooming and pampering services such as manicures, pedicures, and the accompanying massages offer aesthetic benefits of improved appearance of long thick nails and soft, smooth skin. For pregnant women with nails that are brittle, develop grooves or separate from the nail bed, nail services are even more useful for removing sharp, irregular, unkempt nails that could cause injury or be the site of infections. Additionally, the foot and leg massages that accompany pedicures are of particular benefit as they increase circulation and reduce swelling. The manicures offer arm and hand stimulation that has also been associated the health benefit of relaxation.


Despite the beneficial health and aesthetic effects of manicures and pedicures, the risk of chemical exposure is real and can be pronounced.  Chemicals such as acetone, formaldehyde, and toluene are often used in nail polish and polish remover. In large doses, these chemicals can cause respiratory problems.  Fortunately, the levels of exposure generally found in salons are not sufficient to cause such harm. Biweekly manicures and pedicures from safe, professional nail salons or as a part of in-home spa treatments, can be both an enjoyable and healthy experience.





Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”