When you are pregnant, a little pampering is good for your self esteem. For some women, this means a visit to the nail salon. Once you are inside, you may become concerned about the strong smell of chemicals. The smell of the acrylics and gel is enough to knock you off your feet.
The effect of the fumes in your local nail salon on the developing fetus is not known. There haven’t been any definitive studies done on this. While most pregnant women who work in these salons seem to be fine, there haven’t been many large scale studies or statistics to prove they are safe.
One study has been done that looked at children of mothers who work as nail technicians. The study was done at the University of Toronto and the children are of school age. Their mothers all worked in nail salons throughout the pregnancy. The study found that the kids had lower scores on tests of cognitive function, language and attention. It should be noted that these children were exposed to the chemicals for extended periods of time.
It’s difficult to study certain potential toxins in pregnancy. For one thing, it would be extremely difficult to find a large enough sample of pregnant women willing to expose their developing babies to a substance which could be potentially harmful. For the scientist, such a study would be filled with ethical issues.
The decision is really up to you and your health care provider. If you have concerns, skip the acrylics for the rest of the pregnancy. Most women find that their nails are stronger and grow faster during pregnancy. You may find that a manicure without the acrylic looks great and gives you the opportunity to show off your longer, stronger nails.
If your doctor gives you the go ahead to have your nails done, you can take some precautions to protect your baby from the chemicals in the air. Ask to be seated in the most well ventilated area of the salon. If possible, ask to sit near an open door, window or other source of ventilation to minimize the amount of fumes you are breathing in. Masks can also be worn. Many nail technicians wear these, even if they are not pregnant.