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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. Alternately, you can also opt for a home salon kit for the same. However, most pregnant women are faced with the doubt and fear about the safety and consequences of getting a manicure and pedicure.
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 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 Labour?
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 labour, 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 labour. However, there is no scientific backing to the same. When in doubt, check this list of possible activities that can induce labour.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Exposure to Chemicals
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 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:
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 labour, 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.
15. If you aren’t convinced about the hygiene at the salon, get your own kit and get a home salon treatment.
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. Choose your products, salon, and procedures with care, and you can enjoy a blissful salon treatment, and keep your baby safe and healthy.
Also Read: 10 Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy