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Hair and Nails

Is it safe to get your nails done while pregnant?

Recently a pregnant woman posted this question on our midwives' yahoo mail group:
Is it really all that bad to get a perm or color my hair while pregnant?  And, how about getting a mani/pedicure?  I was hoping that someone would know if the chemicals used are really all that harmful to the baby.

Since I posted a lengthy answer, I thought I'd share it here as well.


My answer:
Not everyone agrees on this!  I was told by my first OB (before I switched to midwives) that everything was safe!  Cosmetics are not well-regulated in the US, so if you are an extra cautious person when it comes to pregnancy (as I am), I would avoid regular nail salons, perms, and full-hair dyes, particularly dark dyes.  Since highlights don't touch your scalp, they are considered safer than full hair dyes.  There are safer nail polishes too, and I'm sure there are some green/natural salons that use them, but I don't know which ones (maybe ask the cosmetics person at your local Whole Foods/ natural food store?).  You can always take your own nail polish to a regular salon, but make sure it's a well-ventilated if you don't want to spend an hour smelling the fumes in a regular salon.

Here are a few references if you are interested in further reading:

Test Your Knowledge of Cosmetics Safety: 8 Myths Debunked
This is a great article that explains why everyone should pay attention to the ingredients of personal products.

About Perms and Hair Dyes

Are Hair Dyes Safe?

Nail Products and Salons

Clean Hair, Clean Air

Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database
This is a great place to check on the safety of individual products or individual ingredients.  Note that even the hair color products from Whole Foods don't look so great on this. I'm still looking for highlights that I feel comfortable with.


Last but not least - A few things you can do while pregnant without any worries!
10 Ways to Pamper Yourself Naturally
50 DIY Spa Treatments to (Frugally) Promote Health and Healing