Can You Have Nail Polish On During Labor? FAQs For Mothers-To-Be

Many folks enjoy mani-pedi treatments and adorn their nails once in a while. The toxins in manicure products, however, make plenty of people cautious. Mothers-to-be, whose bodies alter throughout pregnancy, should pay special attention to this issue.

The concerns about manicure treatment are reasonable due to multiple reasons. So, can you have nail polish on during labor?

Definitely not. You can get a mani-pedi while pregnant but should remove them before delivery.

Keep reading to discover the potential hazards of having nail polish on during pregnancy. We will cover toxic chemicals in the polish and the risks of wearing lacquer during delivery.

Why Does The Hospital Ask You To Remove Nail Polish Before Delivery?

The surgeons need to see the nails to check your health conditions.

Anyone who has had a cesarean birth or been in an operating room would have gone through this. Before surgery, hospital staff will ask you to remove your fingernail and toenail varnish.

The surgeons will use a pulse oximeter to monitor the oxygen level in the patient’s blood during the operation. It is a device that clamps down on your finger. Your polish coating might prevent the equipment from working correctly.

In addition, the nail bed gives warning signs for timely detection of cyanosis (blue discoloration of the skin). Oxygen-rich blood will be bright red, giving the fingernails a pinky hue.

If the oxygen levels in the blood are low, the blood will turn a deeper crimson. If that’s the case, the fingernails look blue-violet to the naked eye when the oximeter illuminates with blue light.

Is Nail Polish Harmful To My Baby?

The answer depends on the type of polish.

Research shows that phthalates in some types of polish may damage the fetus’s brain. Phthalates interfere with the thyroid hormone of a pregnant woman. This hormone is a crucial element in the overall development of the baby.

Chemical exposure in high quantities might impair the baby’s cognition abilities. They are the ability to reason, perceive, memorize, and process information later on.

Depending on the type of polish you use, it will affect the fetus or not
Depending on the type of polish you use, it will affect the fetus or not

Toluene and formaldehyde are also detrimental to the mother and the fetus. When choosing the paint, expecting moms should opt for varnishes without these chemicals.

A great option to get away from the above toxins is 3-free polishes. These products contain no dibutyl phthalate, toluene, or formaldehyde. When used in moderation, they are safe for pregnant women.

Is It Harmful To Sniff Nail Polish During Pregnancy?

Yes, nail polish is harmful if inhaled on a regular basis.

High exposure to varnish fumes can lead to problems in the nervous system. Things can also get worse if you inhale the toxins too often. Lacquer contains triphenyl phosphate. Chemicals act as a neurotoxin and damage the brain.

In addition, toluene in the polish may cause discomfort to the nerves, eyes, throat, and lungs when evaporated in the air.

Many products contain monomer methyl methacrylate. The chemical features a pungent odor. Inhalation of this chemical has adverse effects on the fetus in pregnant women.

However, with 3-free ( no Dibutyl phthalate (DBP), formaldehyde, and toluene) nail polishes, the mother-to-be can minimize these issues at large.

Follow safety precautions while applying nail polish during pregnancy.
Follow safety precautions while applying nail polish during pregnancy.

If you are having manicure treatment during pregnancy, remember to take safety precautions. Expectant mothers should consult with the obstetrician for information on safe products such as 3-free lacquers.

There are special notes about what to avoid while caring for their nails, and so on. Lastly, it is best to wear a protective mask to prevent sniffing the fumes from the liquid chemicals.

Is It True That Nail Polish Causes Birth Defects?

Unless you use toxin-free products and are not exposed to the lacquer too often, it can pose danger to your little one.

In truth, there is no clear evidence of the adverse effects of the varnish on pregnant women and fetuses. Yet polish and polish remover indeed include several toxic chemicals that damage one’s health.

The chemicals, however, only have a negative effect if you are under high exposure to them for an extended time. That means you can still jazz up your nails with proper safety precautions.

If you decide to get a manicure while pregnant, choose a polish free of the above-mentioned chemicals.

Check the ingredients of nail polish carefully to make sure they don't contain harmful chemicals.
Check the ingredients of nail polish carefully to make sure they don’t contain harmful chemicals.

Please note that excessive inhalation of toxins, especially toluene, in several types of polishes does cause complications and birth abnormalities. It is advisable to go to a nail salon with a well-ventilated space.

Your skin may absorb a small amount of fume from the varnish. But it is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the mother or the fetus.

If you are a nail technician, speak with your obstetrician about additional precautions. Wearing a mask and protective gloves are two fundamental measures, as is bathing regularly to remove the chemicals from the skin.

How Should I Take Care Of My Nails While Pregnant?

During pregnancy, the fingernails and toenails will grow out quite quickly. The phenomenon is due to hormonal changes in the body.

The nails are, however, weak, fragile, and easily damaged. And it may come with a highly unpleasant feeling. Thus, nail care is essential throughout pregnancy.

Regular Trimming

Fingernails are a source of dirt and germs. During pregnancy, expectant moms should keep their nails short. If it feels itchy, you can file your nail gently from the sides to the center.

Use Non-Toxic Lacquers And Take Safety Precautions

As mentioned above, you should select a nail polish free of harmful chemicals to ensure the wellness of you and your baby.

It is also crucial to follow safety precautions. They include wearing a mask when getting your nails done and not sharing nail clippers with others at the nail salon to avoid contamination. Pregnant ladies should request that the technician sanitize any nail clippers or tools before use.

Nail Massage

Apply a small amount of olive oil on your fingernails with a cotton ball. Allow for 5-10 minutes, then gently massage with your hands before rinsing.

The process improves blood circulation around the tips of your fingers and cuticles. And it will give you softer nails over time.


The lack of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium can cause dry and brittle nails. To help them develop stronger and less prone to breakage, you can add biotin-rich foods to the diet.

Liver, eggs, whole grain rice, cauliflower, and avocados are great choices. Drinking at least two liters of water per day can also help avoid dry and damaged nails.

Bad Biting Habit

Do not bite your nails. Nail-biting leaves you vulnerable to paronychia. The habit also leads to cuticle damage and serves as a breeding ground for fungus and germs.


Carrying a baby leads to numerous physiological changes inside the mother’s body. Expecting moms, therefore, should take into account the potential risks before any use of substances.

We hope you have found a satisfactory answer to the issue “Can you have nail polish on during labor?” Although the polish coating is not a big deal during pregnancy, it does require careful consideration.

Choose healthy and easy-to-remove polishes lest you need to remove your varnish before labor. And always follow the instructions of the medical staff for the safety of your health and your unborn baby.


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