Pregnancy can make a person seem warier of the essential do’s and don'ts. Among these causes for concern may be whether or not getting your nails done is safe during pregnancy.
From a scientific point of view, not much can be said about the dangers of having your nails done while pregnant due to the lack of sufficient studies conducted regarding the topic. Still, most experts would agree that a manicure does not have direct harm done to either the baby or the mother.
So to be clear, having your nails done during pregnancy is generally considered to be okay, and it can not directly harm the baby. The harm comes if the pregnant mother develops skin infections due to improper and unsanitary nail care.
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Risks of getting your nails done while pregnant
A manicure doesn’t pose any life-threatening risk to pregnant women if it is done properly. However, there are risks involved for pregnant women.
Risk 1: Bacterial, Fungal, and Viral Infections
Several risks can contribute to harming both mother and unborn child concerning nail salon hygiene and sanitation, such as bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.
Symptoms: Swelling, redness, or irritation around the manicured finger or toenails.
Treatment: Just like any bacterial infection, we can effectively treat this problem with the help of antibiotics that can help strengthen the body’s immune system and prevent the infection from spreading.
Depending on the type of bacteria in the infection, your doctor may prescribe a specific choice of antibiotic.
Symptoms: Like an athlete's foot, fungal infections can give your nails a yellowish color. Your nails may also appear to be detaching or lifting off your fingers.
Treatment: Fungal infections are typically treated using antifungal medications that are usually taken orally. Recovering from this infection can last for several months to a year.
For severe cases of fungal nail infection, doctors may opt to remove the nail entirely.
There are also risks of suffering from viral infections by simply going inside the salon through inhalation, ingestion, or contact bodily fluids containing the virus.
Symptoms: Plantar warts (small growths around the heels or other weight-bearing areas of the feet) are typical symptoms of viral infections contracted from nail salons.
Treatment: Plantar warts are commonly treated using topical medications. Other treatments may include acid, laser treatment, cryotherapy, curettage and desiccation, and even immunotherapy.
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Risk 2: Chemical Exposure
When it comes to having your nails done, one of the things to be wary of, especially if you are pregnant, is the possible risk of getting exposed to potent chemicals found in most nail products.
Some nail products may contain a strong smell but no severe risk, while others may contain potent chemicals that have no smell at all.
When lowering the risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals found in most nail care products, you have to be wary of the “toxic trio” found in many nail polishes.
This chemical, also found in gasoline, is typically used as a nail polish ingredient for smooth application and finish. Found in most nail polish removers, toluene has a sweet but pungent smell.
Harmful Effects: Exposure to toluene can make a person feel headaches, dizziness, and even cracked skin. Further serious effects of too much exposure to toluene are reproductive issues and respiratory complications.
This chemical is found in some nail polishes and hardeners, and it can sometimes be listed on the product label as “formalin” or “methylene glycol.”
Harmful Effects: If a person inhales formaldehyde or gets in contact with it, they have just been exposed to a potentially cancer-causing substance.
It can also cause allergic contact dermatitis and other harmful substances found in nail care products.
Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
This chemical ingredient is used as a plasticizer component to make the nail polish more flexible, durable, and less prone to chips and cracks.
Harmful Effects: Aside from causing allergic contact dermatitis, long-term exposure to Dibutyl phthalate, which is a plasticizer, can lead to damage to the liver and kidney. It can also negatively affect the reproductive system.
Other chemical ingredients in nail products are camphor, xylene, triphenylphosphate (TPHP), colophonium, organic halides (AOX), and dimethicone.
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Inhalation of these chemical ingredients continues to be a possible risk. However, in some instances, some risks from harmful chemical exposure can come from skin contact and accidental ingestion of the chemical.
The best practice to lower the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals found in nail products is always to check the product label. To further lower the risk of exposure to these chemicals, It also helps if the nail salon has an adequate ventilation system to help evaporated chemicals escape into the air.
Safety Precautions when getting your nails done
Be it having your nails done by a professional at a salon or choosing to pamper yourself at home. You must not refrain from practicing the following safety precautions while having your nails done during pregnancy.
- Make sure your salon practices health and sanitation protocols.
If you want, you can choose to pay a visit to your nail salon ahead of time to observe if they strictly adhere to proper sanitation to make sure that you and your baby will not get an infection after the manicure.
- Ask if they sterilize their nail care tools.
Do not be afraid to ask for this detail because it is only suitable for a customer to know if nail care tools are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before every use.
- Check for proper ventilation.
While there is not much to be done about the chemical products found in most nail care products, the best practice to lower the exposure to harmful chemicals has proper ventilation in the salon.
Check if evaporated chemicals can easily escape into the air to avoid respiratory complications due to inhalation of these chemicals.
- Do not get your nails done if you have an open wound on your feet.
Before getting your nails done, make sure that you do not have any cut, scratch, or open wounds in your hands or fingers to remove the risk of microorganisms entering your body.
- Consider switching to nontoxic nail products.
If you want to eradicate all potential risks of chemical exposure, you can always switch to nontoxic nail polishes available on the market. Nail polishes can be labeled as “3-free”, “5-free”, or “7-free” depending on the number of toxic chemicals removed from the nail polish.
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During pregnancy, getting your nails done isn’t directly dangerous for the mother and child. However, there are possible risks to it if not taken seriously.
From proper sanitation to meticulous checking of product labels, getting your nails done can generally be a risk-free way to pamper yourself.
The best precaution to make sure you and your baby are safe is to always check with your doctor first before getting your nails done. Once your doctor clears you for a trip to the nail salon, you can now move on to deciding which color to paint your nails.