Can You Get Your Nails Done While Pregnant?

Can You Get Your Nails Done While Pregnant?

Whether you have an upcoming event, or you’re just after some much-needed pampering, getting your nails done can be a fast-track route to feel refreshed.

But can you get your nails done while pregnant?

We get it, pregnancy can be tough on you and your body, and sometimes the smallest spoils, like a manicure, can help you feel more yourself.

But you may have been holding off on getting that mani because you’ve heard they aren’t safe.

Let’s find out what the deal is, so you can make the right decision for you and your baby.

In this article: 📝

  • Can you use nail polish when pregnant?
  • Can you get a manicure while pregnant?
  • Can you get acrylic nails done while pregnant?
  • Can you get gel nails done while pregnant?
  • Can you get a pedicure while pregnant?
  • Top tips for manis while pregnant

Can you use nail polish when pregnant?

Using nail polish when pregnant is generally safe.

But there are some things to be aware of.

Pregnancy causes all sorts of changes to our bodies.

You may find that everything from how much you sneeze to how thirsty you are has gone through a shift.

And your nails are not exempt.

You may experience leukonychia — that’s when those white lines form on your nails.

Or you might be more susceptible to ingrown toenails and nail splitting.

Pregnancy may also affect the thickness of your nails, making them mightier than ever.
(And if you’re wondering, yep, it’s pregnancy hormones that are mainly responsible here.)

Put that all together, and your nails may be either stronger or weaker than usual. As with most things pregnancy-related, there’s no one way to do this thing.

So basically, you get to decide if getting your nails done right now feels like a good idea.

Before you book your appointment, here are some things to take into account. We’ll start by having a look at the more hands-on approach:

Can you get a manicure while pregnant?

Manicures are safe during pregnancy — but there are ways to make them even safer.

You may know from personal experience that the fumes from nail polish are not that pleasant to inhale, so it makes sense that you might be wondering if they can impact your baby in any way.

While nail polish in general is not considered harmful, the chemicals in nail polish can be a bit overwhelming right now.

According to this study, about two-thirds of pregnant women rate their sense of smell as more heightened than usual.

That may mean you’re more sensitive to fumes than usual, and both nail polish and remover may be a bit of an assault to your senses.

When choosing a salon, opt for an option that’s well-ventilated. And see if you can get the spot closest to the window.

Also, ask the technician to avoid brands with the following harsh chemicals in them:

  • Dibutyl phthalate
  • Toluene
  • Formaldehyde
  • Liquid methyl methacrylate (MMA)

Another consideration is getting an infection in or around your nail.

You’re more prone to it right now, and there is a possibility that an infection could travel to your baby.

Washing your hands straight after a treatment is a good idea.

And what about fake nails? Are these okay to do right now?

Can you get acrylic nails done while pregnant?

Yep, it’s fine to get acrylic nails when you are pregnant.

Acrylic nails are made of a paste formed from liquid monomer and a powder polymer, and this paste shouldn’t cause you problems.

If you want to be extra cautious, you might want to wait until you’re over the first trimester, as this is the most fragile time of your pregnancy.

Can you get gel nails done while pregnant?

Gel nails should be safe, but there are other considerations here.

The confusing answer is, maybe 😬.

In fact, probably.

But we can’t be 100% sure.

There are undoubtedly some nasties in many nail products.

And the fact is that the effects of these are often not well studied in pregnancy.

As a result, there’s no official guidance on gel manicures during pregnancy.

The best thing to do is chat with your primary healthcare provider and get their advice.

Some experts believe that the chemical levels you may be exposed to during the odd manicure are unlikely to cause you or your baby harm.

But it’s still worth checking in with your doctor first.

What are the concerns about gel manicures while pregnant?

These chemicals are at the center of the debate.

Methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA)

This chemical is the bonding agent in some gel and acrylic nails.

It’s linked to respiratory issues, skin reactions, and other more serious conditions.

It’s best to avoid it, pregnant or not, and you can always check in with your salon as to whether their products contain it.


Dibutyl Phthalate is commonly used in nail varnish to make it more flexible.

But it’s used in many other products, too — not just nail treatments.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests you avoid it while pregnant.


This solvent is used to thin nail polish, so it applies well and helps make it chip resistant.

Solvents are known to be harmful to the nervous system, although generally in larger quantities than you’d be exposed to in nail polish.


This is the chemical that hardens nail polish.

It’s very scary sounding, but the amount in nail polish is thought to be harmless.

During the extra-sensitive time of pregnancy, though, it might be best to avoid it.

Alternatives to a gel finish

The good news is that there are plenty of nontoxic nail varnishes that get you pretty darn close to a gel finish while avoiding the worrying chemicals.


Even for those who are not currently pregnant!

“3-free” nail polishes don’t contain dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or formaldehyde.

(Also, pregnancy has probably made your nails hardier and stronger, and you may not even need the extra protection of gel.)

The even better news is that gel products like Opallac, are not only “10 Free” but vegan and cruelty-free too.

Chat with your salon and see if they have any of these options on their menu.

Can you get a pedicure while pregnant?

As with manicures, having a pedicure when pregnant is safe.

In fact, it can be wonderful, particularly in the third trimester when getting to those toenails yourself can be a little more challenging.

Some people believe that a foot massage during pregnancy can induce labor, but recent research says otherwise.

In fact, a foot massage may be very relaxing right now and have some important mental health benefits.

Because we all have different sets of risks, check in with your doctor to see if there’s anything you should be concerned about before going ahead.

And if you work in a nail salon and are wondering how safe it is during pregnancy, here are some guidelines:

  • Ventilation is important. If you feel there isn’t enough fresh air coming in, talk to your employer.
  • Use an N95 mask to avoid exposure to chemicals and dust.
  • Wear gloves at all times.
  • Avoid eating and drinking while in the salon.
  • Avoid products that contain dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, and MMA.

Top tips for manis while pregnant

If you do decide to treat yourself and get that mani, here are some of our top tips to make sure it’s as safe as possible for you and bump.

1. Make sure the salon is well-ventilated.

Strong fumes from salon chemicals can be overwhelming for those with a particularly sensitive nose during pregnancy.

Ask if you can be seated closest to the door.

Some salons even have an outdoor setting for treatments!

These smells are also likely to make those with pregnancy nausea feel super ill.

Might be best to wait till you’re out of the first trimester and your stomach (hopefully) settles.

2. Time your appointment.

Another reason to avoid chemicals in the first trimester is that this is when your baby is most sensitive to developing birth differences.

So it makes sense to be extra careful during this time.

3.Give your hands a good wash afterward.

Just to make sure any chemical residue is not left on your skin any longer than necessary.

4. Limit your exposure to harmful chemicals

For example, use cotton pads soaked in acetone rather than soaking your whole finger.

Ask the technician to ensure that the acetone is removed after the shortest amount of time.

5. Wear sunscreen

If the treatment you choose requires being set under UV light, apply sunscreen to your hands.

Just in case.

So what have we nailed down about whether a manicure is safe while pregnant?

Based on the available research, we can’t say for sure that these chemicals are harmful to you or your baby in small amounts.

But if you can, it may be safest to skip regular gel polish for now.

Thankfully there are many other options out there for pretty nails!

Go with a natural look, a chemically-conscious product, or even spend the extra cash on a long hand massage instead.

You might find that does the trick when it comes to the perfect relaxing treat!

And if you want support along the way, reach out to your Peanut Community.

You don’t have to do this alone.

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