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5 things to consider about getting gel nails while pregnant

During pregnancy you might notice that your nails become brittle and weak. A gel manicure might therefore be one of those little treats that not only restores your nails to their pre-pregnancy glory but also takes your mind off the nausea and bloating for twenty minutes. Scroll on down on for what you need to know about gel nails while pregnant…

Why do my nails keep breaking during pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones can sometimes affect nail health. You might be one of the lucky ones who experience stronger nails, but for many women it is quite common for your nails to become brittle during pregnancy. This often results in broken or split nails. The cause of the brittleness is mainly down to hormonal fluctuations and nutritional changes, such as reduced iron and biotin.

What can I do to keep my nails strong?

Changes to your nails are often temporary and resolve after pregnancy but there are some steps you can take to help maintain better nail health:

  • Balanced diet: Ensure you’re getting a well-rounded diet with plenty of nutrients, including vitamins and minerals that support nail health, such as biotin, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E.
  • Hydration: Stay adequately hydrated to maintain overall nail health. Drinking enough water can help keep nails hydrated and prevent excessive brittleness.
  • Gentle nail care: Be gentle with your nails. Avoid harsh chemicals, excessive filing, or using nails as tools to prevent further damage.
  • Protective measures: Consider using a protective base coat or a gel manicure to help strengthen nails and reduce brittleness.

What are gel nails?

When we talk gel nails, we’re talking about the gel-based polishes applied directly to natural nails. The gel is applied in layers and cured (hardened) using UV or LED light between each layer. This curing process helps the gel harden and stick to the nail surface. Shellac nails are a type of gel manicure that uses a combination of regular nail polish and get.

Can I get gel nails while pregnant?

Generally speaking, getting gel nails during pregnancy is considered safe for most women. However, like all things during pregnancy, it’s important to check that the products and environment are safe for both you and the baby.

What are the safety concerns?

The concern during pregnancy is mainly concerning exposure to chemicals commonly used in nail products, such as formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP (dibutyl phthalate). The good news though is that the risk from exposure to these chemicals during a gel manicure is relatively low. This is especially so because the hardening process locks in the polish, which reduces direct contact with your skin.

5 things to consider

Although getting gel nails is generally safe when you’re pregnant, it’s always good to be extra careful as your body can react in surprising ways during pregnancy. Here are 5 keys things to consider to make sure you’re super safe:

  1. Skin Sensitivity: During pregnancy, you might experience increased sensitivity or allergic reactions to certain substances, including chemicals in nail products. If you have a history of reactions or sensitivities, you might want to avoid these treatments or use products formulated for sensitive skin.
  2. Well-ventilated areas: Gel nails involve the use of various chemicals, including gel polish and solutions for curing under UV or LED lamps. While the risk of these chemicals affecting the baby is generally considered low, it’s best to limit exposure wherever possible. Opt for well-ventilated salons and consider wearing a mask if you’re concerned about inhaling fumes.
  3. Use trusted salons and products: Opt for salons that use reputable, high-quality products. Some nail polish brands have formulations that are free from harmful chemicals, which might be a better choice during pregnancy.
  4. Inform the technician: Let your nail technician know that you’re pregnant so they can take any necessary precautions, such as avoiding cuticle treatments or being extra cautious with nail products. They might also suggest a patch test before any treatment.
  5. Self-Application: If you prefer having your nails done but are concerned about salon exposure, consider doing your nails at home using safer, pregnancy-friendly nail products.

If you have any concerns or if you’re in a high-risk pregnancy or have allergies or sensitivities to certain chemicals, it might be a good idea to consult your midwife or GP before getting a gel manicure, just to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.

Can I have gel nails when giving birth?

The decision to have gel nails when giving birth is ultimately up to you. That being said, some hospitals have their own guidance about artificial nails (including gel nails) during child birth. This is mainly because the fingernails are used as a way of monitoring oxygen levels during labour and birth. Check out this article for more info and speak with your midwife too for your hospital’s specific policy.

Ultimately, the decision to get gel nails during pregnancy should prioritise your health and the well-being of your baby. If you’re uncertain or have concerns about the safety of gel nails, discussing these concerns with your nail technician and midwife can help you make an informed choice.


Birthbabe does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The resources on our website are provided for informational purposes only. You should always consult with a healthcare professional regarding any medical diagnoses or treatment options.

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