Manicure and Pedicure during Pregnancy - Safety, Risks & Precautions

Manicure & Pedicure While Pregnant – What’s Good and What’s Not

Pregnancy hormones are known to glorify the appearance of nails and hair in many expecting women. As you notice sudden growth of your hair and nails while pregnant, you might want to step into a salon to manage it. Alternatively, you can also opt for a home salon kit for the same. However, most women are faced with doubt and fear about the safety and consequences of getting a manicure and pedicure during pregnancy.

While it is beyond doubt that these manicure and pedicure sessions offer relief and leave you looking refreshed and decked up, it is important to be cautious about any risks they may cause to you or your baby.

Is a Manicure or Pedicure Safe During Pregnancy?

Manicure and pedicure during pregnancy are quite safe, and many pregnant women enjoy a trip to their salon for a relaxing session. Manicure and pedicure can help relieve stress, soothe muscles and increase circulation, especially during the last trimester of pregnancy, when your feet will be sore because of baby weight. A good foot massage during this time can help. These massages also improve blood circulation and reduce swelling in the foot that is common in most pregnant women.

A salon visit during pregnancy may even be warranted at times as some pregnant women may find that a manicure and a pedicure is a necessity due to rapid nail growth that needs grooming. Other pregnant women, who may have brittle nails that appear unkempt and may cause infection and injuries if they have sharp broken nails, may require nail services to manage the overall health and aesthetics of their nails.

Does Pedicure Induce Labor?

While some believe that pedicure during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially foot massage at a specific point near the ankle and heel can induce labor, there is no evidence to support this claim. This belief may be part of reflexology, wherein it is believed that certain pressure points on the foot cause uterine contractions, thus inducing labor. However, there is no scientific backing to the same. When in doubt, check this list of possible activities that can induce labor.

Woman getting pedicure

But if you are unsure about it, it is advised that you avoid getting a foot massage or speak to your doctor if you should go ahead with it.

Risks of Getting a Manicure/Pedicure When Pregnant

While manicures and pedicures are safe enough to indulge in during pregnancy, there are a few risk factors that need to be paid heed to. These include:

1. Hygiene risk

Since a salon sees quite a few visitors, the risk of infection may be high here. The equipment and products used may also carry infection if they are not cleaned and sterilized properly. This may put both you and your baby at risk. Some salons may also not practise safe hygiene methods and reuse tools on different customers, you can be at the potential risk of bacterial and fungal infections.

2. Exposure of Chemicals

Exposure to chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, and acetone can be harmful. Inhalation or accidental ingestion of these chemicals is the main concern. Chemicals may also get absorbed into the skin, causing complications.

3. Lack of Ventilation

Paired with excess chemicals and fumes, lack of ventilation may cause nausea. Ventilation is necessary for the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to evaporate. Lack of proper ventilation can mean higher exposure to these compounds. It is always best to choose a salon that has open windows or effective ventilation facilities.

Chemical Exposure

Exposure to certain chemicals may pose an unnecessary risk to both you and your baby. Some salons may use cheap products that contain harmful toxic substances; hence, it is always best to check with the salon about the products they use prior to your appointment.

You should check if they use nail varnishes that have acetone in them. Acetone can have a toxic effect on the nervous system. It can also cause your nails to go brittle and may increase the chances of breakage. You must avoid getting a gel manicure while pregnant as it takes longer to get a gel manicure, which will only prolong your exposure to chemicals. Certain gel nails even have a chemical called methyl methacrylate monomer (MMA), which can cause allergic reactions on the skin. Also, the removal process involves soaking the nails in acetone for over 20 minutes, which isn’t recommended for pregnant women.

Precautions to Take

Taking some precautions before you go ahead and book your salon appointment is recommended to avoid any preventable complications. This way you can stay protected, feel pampered, and keep your baby safe at all costs. Some of the precautions you could take are:

Hygienic pedicure where the technician is wearing gloves and musk

  1. Choose a salon that has good ventilation to prevent unnecessary exposure to fumes and chemicals. Your heightened sense of smell during pregnancy may otherwise cause nausea.
  2. If possible, visit the salon beforehand to inspect their hygiene methods, tools, and practices.
  3. Book an appointment only at a licensed salon with a good health inspection record.
  4. Try booking an early morning appointment to reduce exposure to infections and bacteria.
  5. Do not consume any food items while you are at the salon to avoid ingesting chemicals accidentally.
  6. Ensure that the tools being used on you are sterilised thoroughly in an autoclave steriliser.
  7. Alternately, carry your own files and nail clippers.
  8. Make sure to ask the chemicals that are being used on you and ensure that there are no harmful chemicals in the products.
  9. If you have any cuts on your skin avoid going to the salon to prevent infections.
  10. Ask the salon person who attends to you to wear gloves.
  11. Ask the technician to not cut or push back your cuticles to prevent bacterial or fungal infections.
  12. Although there is no evidence that massage can cause labor, you may want to ask your pedicurist to avoid stimulating any pressure points during the massage or avoid massages altogether.
  13. Ask the technician to take care to go about the process slowly to prevent any cuts and subsequent infections.
  14. You may want to avoid manicures and pedicures during the first trimester as the risk of infections and dangers associated with them are considerably high at this time. You can go ahead with a pedicure while pregnant in the second trimester and third.
  15. If you aren’t convinced about the hygiene at the salon, get your own kit and get a home salon treatment.

How to Buy a Pregnancy-Safe Nail Polish for Manicure/Pedicure?

Buying pregnancy-safe nail polish for a manicure or pedicure involves paying attention to certain ingredients and choosing products that are free from potentially harmful chemicals. Here’s how to choose pregnancy-safe nail polish:

1. Avoid the Toxic Trio

Look for nail polishes that are free from the “toxic trio” of chemicals: formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). These chemicals are known to be harmful, and it’s best to steer clear of them during pregnancy.

2. Check for Other Harmful Ingredients

Besides the toxic trio, there are other potentially harmful ingredients like formaldehyde resin, camphor, ethyl tosylamide, and xylene. Choose a nail polish that is free from these as well.

3. Opt for Water-Based Formulas

Water-based nail polishes are generally considered safer during pregnancy. They often don’t contain harsh chemicals found in traditional nail polishes. Look for products labeled as “non-toxic” or “water-based.” 

4. Read Labels

Always read the labels of nail polish products to check for any ingredients that may be harmful. Look for brands that specifically market their products as pregnancy-safe or non-toxic.

5. Choose Well-Known Brands

Stick to reputable and well-known nail polish brands that are known for producing high-quality, safe products. Researching reviews and checking customer feedback can be helpful in making an informed decision.

How to Take Care of Your Nails During Pregnancy at Home?

During pregnancy, self-care becomes paramount, and this extends to your nails. Ensuring that your nails are well-maintained and healthy is essential for your overall well-being. The following tips provide guidance on how to take care of your nails at home during pregnancy.

  • Keep your nails clean by using a soft nail brush, and be sure to thoroughly dry them after washing to reduce the risk of fungal infections.
  • Apply a moisturizing cuticle oil or cream to keep cuticles hydrated. Avoid cutting cuticles to prevent infection and irritation.
  • Opt for nail polishes and removers that are free from harmful chemicals. Look for water-based or non-toxic formulas to minimize chemical exposure.
  • Consume a diet rich in vitamins and minerals to promote nail health. Include foods high in biotin, such as eggs and nuts, to strengthen nails.
  • Limit the use of nail hardeners, as they may contain harsh chemicals. Opt for a balanced approach to maintain natural nail strength.
  • Wear gloves while doing household chores to protect your nails from chemicals and breakage. Refrain from utilizing your nails as tools to prevent potential harm and breakage.
  • Drink an adequate amount of water to keep your body and nails hydrated. Hydration contributes to overall nail health and helps prevent brittleness.
  • Maintain a tidy appearance by regularly trimming your nails. File your nails in one direction to prevent splitting and breakage.

When to Call Your Doctor?

As you indulge in a manicure and pedicure in pregnancy, be vigilant about reaching out to your healthcare provider if you observe any alterations such as infections, discomfort in the nail beds, changes in nail color, detachment of the nail from the finger, or the presence of an ingrown nail. In either scenario, it’s advisable to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist promptly.


1. Is It Safe to Do Paraffin Wax Pedicure While Pregnant?

Paraffin wax pedicures are generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, it’s crucial to use high-quality, pregnancy-safe paraffin wax and ensure that the wax isn’t too hot to avoid any risk of burns. Consult with your healthcare provider if you have specific concerns.

2. Which Manicure Is Safe During Pregnancy?

Opt for a standard manicure using pregnancy-safe nail products. Choose a nail polish that is free from harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP. Water-based or non-toxic formulas are often recommended. Additionally, ensure good ventilation in the area to minimize exposure to fumes. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice based on your pregnancy and health status.

Pampering yourself with a manicure and a pedicure during pregnancy can be refreshing. While it is largely safe to indulge in some self-care, it is recommended that you keep all the pros and cons in mind and make an informed choice. When it comes to pedicures for pregnancy, choose your products, salon, and procedures with care, and you can enjoy a blissful salon treatment, and keep your baby safe and healthy.


1. Skin Conditions During Pregnancy FAQs; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;

2. Tips For Healthy Nails; American Academy of Dermatology Association;

3. 12 Nail Changes a Dermatologist Should Examine; American Academy of Dermatology Association;

4. Nailing Down the Facts: Nail Treatment Safety in Pregnancy;;

5. Formaldehyde – Reproductive Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

6. Epoxies and Resins – Reproductive Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

7. Use of methyl methacrylate (MMA) in nail products; Government of Western Australia Department of Health;

Also Read:

Facial Bleach during Pregnancy
Eyebrow Threading when Pregnant
How to Take Care of Skin in Pregnancy?
Can Pregnant Women Use Hair Removal Cream?

Previous article «
Next article »