Pregnancy Articles

Pedicures in Pregnancy

Precautions Make It Enjoyable for You, and Safe for Baby

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What is it about painted toenails that makes women feel so beautiful? Even on my worst hair days, when my feet are cute, I feel pretty. This is an important concept for pregnant women—especially in those early months (when all you can concentrate on is keeping saltine crackers down), and even in the later months (when the only reason our feet enter our minds is because they hurt so much). But...are pedicures safe during pregnancy?

According to Dawn Bierschwal, owner of Becoming Mom Pregnancy Spa and Imaging Center in Mason, Ohio, they are absolutely safe—as long as you use common sense and take a few precautions.

So what should a mom-to-be watch out for when choosing a spa or salon for her pregnancy pedicure? Start with reflexology.

Reflexology is the art of applying pressure (or strokes) to certain areas of the feet to relieve pain, discomfort, or problems in other parts of the body. Pressure points located in the ankles are connected to the reproductive organs, and one point specifically relates to the uterus. If rubbed in the correct way by a professional, this spot can trigger contractions. But if this is done too early it can bring on preterm labor. Bierschwal advises expectant moms to “go to someone who is trained in what points to avoid.” It is unlikely that an amateur can trigger this response by accident, but to just to be safe, have your own personal masseuse (hubby, mom, best friend, etc.) avoid your ankles when rubbing your feet.

But if you’ve ever had a pedicure before, you know that the massage doesn’t just concentrate on your feet—it goes all the way up to your knees. This is a wonderful way to relieve the pain and pressure you are feeling due to carrying all that extra weight. But this can also be dangerous if you have a blood clot. Recent studies suggest that a woman’s overall risk for blood clots during pregnancy is six times greater than in non-pregnant women. This risk continues into the first few months postpartum as well.

“It is important to go to someone who knows about blood clots during pregnancy, especially if you are prone to them,” Bierschwal advises. “We have women fill out a form so we know their history with blood clots and can watch to ensure we don’t dislodge them.”

Another concern that comes with pedicures is fumes. Many nail products contain formaldehyde and toluene, which in small doses can cause moms to feel dizzy or nauseous, but in large repeated exposures have been linked to birth defects. There are many polishes and products available which are both formaldehyde and toluene free. Ensure that either your salon or room where you paint your nails is well-ventilated or that you wear a mask to defuse the fumes.
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