Are Acrylic Nails Safe During Pregnancy? Risk & Safety!

Are Acrylic Nails Safe During Pregnancy? As a nail technician and mom myself, I’m often asked if getting acrylic nails is okay during pregnancy. The answer isn’t black and white. Currently there are no studies proving acrylics pose a significant risk. But the jury is still out on their absolute safety.

Based on my personal experience, I don’t recommend acrylics for pregnant clients. There are too many potential risks and unknowns. However, with proper precautions, many women do wear them without issue. I’ll share the potential risks along with tips to reduce them if you do choose acrylics while expecting.

Are Acrylic Nails Safe During Pregnancy?

Are Acrylic Nails Safe During Pregnancy?

Acrylic nails may pose potential risks during pregnancy due to chemical exposure, possible skin absorption, and increased sensitivity. While some precautions can be taken, it’s advisable to consult your healthcare provider for personalized guidance and consider safer alternatives like gel nails or natural nail maintenance.

The Case For Acrylics During Pregnancy

While there are concerns about the safety of acrylic nails during pregnancy, some arguments support their use with proper precautions:

1. Low Chemical Exposure

Many experts argue that the small amounts of chemicals absorbed during acrylic nail application are unlikely to pose significant risks to pregnant women or their babies. In a salon setting, the exposure levels are generally considered to be minimal.

2. No Evidence of Harm

Currently, there is a lack of conclusive scientific studies demonstrating that acrylic nails have a negative impact on pregnant women or their babies when applied correctly. In fact, many pregnant women worldwide safely choose to have acrylic nails without reported adverse effects.

3. Can Take Precautions

Steps can be taken to minimize potential risks associated with acrylic nails during pregnancy. Proper sanitation and ventilation in nail salons can significantly reduce exposure to chemicals and infection risks, making acrylics a safer option for those who choose to have them.

In theory, acrylic nails appear to be a low-risk option during pregnancy, but it’s important to acknowledge that definitive proof of their safety may require more extensive research. However, many nail technicians feel comfortable offering acrylic nail services to pregnant women when proper precautions are taken to ensure their well-being.

Concerns About Acrylics During Pregnancy

While there are arguments in favor of acrylic nails during pregnancy, there are also valid concerns that give pause to their use:

1. Potentially Harmful Chemicals

Acrylic nails involve the use of chemicals like monomers, acetone, and primers. While experts suggest that small amounts pose minimal risk, the extent of absorption and potential effects on pregnancy remain uncertain. More research is needed to fully understand the safety implications.

2. MMA Acrylic Dangers

Certain salons may use cheap and hazardous MMA (methyl methacrylate) acrylic products. These substances are dangerous even for non-pregnant individuals and should be completely avoided due to their severe health risks.

3. Nausea Triggers

The strong odors emanating from monomers, primers, or acetone can trigger nausea and headaches, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy. This discomfort can make the salon experience less enjoyable for expectant mothers.

4. Higher Infection Risks

Acrylic nails can create a small gap between the natural nail and the acrylic overlay, potentially making nail beds more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Infections during pregnancy can be particularly concerning if they spread.

5. Healthier Alternatives Exist

Safer nail enhancement alternatives such as gel polish, dip powder, or press-ons are available. These options avoid the use of harsh acrylic chemicals and strong odors, providing a safer choice for maintaining beautiful nails during pregnancy.

Are Acrylic Fumes & Odors Harmful During Pregnancy?

Are Acrylic Fumes & Odors Harmful During Pregnancy

The safety of acrylic fumes and odors during pregnancy is a matter of concern. Acrylic nails involve the use of chemicals that can release potentially harmful fumes during application.

While it’s challenging to quantify the exact level of exposure, there is uncertainty about the risks associated with inhaling these fumes. Some chemicals in acrylic nail products have been linked to health issues like respiratory irritation, headaches, and nausea, which can be particularly concerning for pregnant women, especially during the first trimester when sensitivity to strong odors is common.

There is limited research specifically on this topic, making it challenging to provide definitive conclusions. To minimize potential risks, choosing a well-ventilated salon, wearing a mask, scheduling appointments strategically, and informing your nail technician about your pregnancy can be precautionary measures to consider.

Can Acrylics Cause Miscarriage or Birth Defects?

The truth is, there’s limited research on this specific topic. While no controlled studies have focused on pregnant women and acrylic nails, it’s always a good practice to minimize exposure to chemicals when you’re expecting. Acrylic nails involve various chemicals in their application, so it’s often recommended to hold off on them until after you’ve given birth.

I want to reassure you that there’s no direct evidence suggesting that acrylic nails lead to miscarriages or birth defects in the typical salon setting. However, there was a study in 2010 that did find a slight increase in these risks for nail salon workers who had daily exposure to exceptionally high chemical levels. It’s important to note that this situation isn’t representative of what most clients experience during their salon visits. Still, we need more research to fully understand the risks in typical salon settings.

For clients who choose to have acrylic nails during pregnancy, I recommend taking some precautions. You can opt for odorless monomer to reduce exposure to strong odors and fumes that are sometimes associated with acrylic nails. Additionally, ensuring proper ventilation in the salon is essential to minimize chemical exposure.

Tips for Safely Getting Acrylics While Pregnant

If choosing to get acrylics done during pregnancy, here are my top tips for minimizing risks:

  • Verify the salon doesn’t use hazardous MMA acrylic products. Ask to see product labels.
  • Wear a protective mask during application and removal to avoid inhaling fumes.
  • Ensure the salon is well-ventilated or request a ventilating fan be used near you.
  • Avoid harsh primers and dehydrators. Ask for gentler prep using just alcohol or nail prep solution.
  • Request odorless monomer to reduce nauseating smells. Or avoid fills requiring heavy monomer use.
  • Have cuticles carefully pushed back rather than cut to decrease infection risks.
  • Seek out an experienced, licensed nail technician so you’re in good hands.
  • Take occasional short breaks from enhancements to let nails recover.
  • Use acetone-free removal products when possible to reduce fumes.

With precautions, most women can wear acrylics without issue during pregnancy. But weigh the unknowns and consider press-ons or gel polish for a safer alternative manicure. And always listen to your doctor’s advice over anyone else’s!

Are Gel Nails Safer Than Acrylics During Pregnancy?

Gel polish contains fewer harsh chemicals compared to acrylics. UV gel does use some acrylate monomers, but they have less odor. Since gels don’t require heavy filing or soaking off, they pose lower risks for pregnant women overall.

However, you still want proper salon ventilation and cuticle care. Take occasional breaks as well. For maximum safety, press-on nails or nail wraps avoid chemicals entirely. But gels are a good middle ground alternative to acrylics.

Can You Breastfeed with Acrylic Nails?

There have been no studies showing acrylic nails impact breastfeeding or breastmilk. The amount of chemicals possibly absorbed is likely negligible.

However, you still want to take precautions by using an experienced nail tech and odorless, high-quality products. Avoid cheap acrylics with MMA. Proper hygiene and ventilation remain important too.

If you notice any rashes, skin irritation, or symptoms in your baby, remove enhancements. But in general, occasional acrylic wear isn’t known to affect breastfeeding ability or safety.

Should You Avoid All Nail Salons While Pregnant?

You don’t necessarily need to avoid nail salons entirely while pregnant, but taking some extra precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

1. Opt for Nail Maintenance Services:

Consider choosing nail services that focus on nail maintenance, such as trims, reshaping, and polishing, rather than more involved enhancements like acrylic nails. These services typically involve fewer chemicals and fumes.

2. Gel Manicures as a Safer Option:

If you prefer longer-lasting manicures, gel manicures are generally considered a safer option compared to acrylics. However, even gel manicures involve some chemicals, so it’s a good idea to take occasional breaks to minimize exposure.

3. Avoid Prolonged Foot Soaks:

During pedicures, avoid long soaks in foot tubs, as these can harbor bacteria. Instead, opt for salt scrubs or shorter soaking times to keep your feet pampered without unnecessary risks.

4. Choose Reputable Salons:

Opt for nail salons with excellent ventilation systems, a strong emphasis on sanitation, and licensed technicians. Well-ventilated salons help disperse chemical fumes, reducing your exposure.

5. Communicate About Strong Odors:

If you find that the salon’s chemical odors are too strong, don’t hesitate to wear a mask or politely speak up. Technicians can make adjustments to improve your comfort during the appointment.

6. Stay Hydrated:

Pregnant women are more prone to dizzy spells, so remember to stay hydrated during your salon visits. Drinking water can help you feel more comfortable and prevent any potential lightheadedness.

With some minor adjustments, you can still enjoy salon manicures and pedicures safely during pregnancy! Just be mindful of risks and listen to your body.


When it comes to acrylic nails during pregnancy, it’s best to err on the side of caution. While we can’t definitively say they’re unsafe, it’s crucial to prioritize your and your baby’s well-being. For more information, tips, and alternatives on nail care during pregnancy, please visit the Villa Nails blog. Your safety and comfort are our top priorities, and we’re here to support you in making informed choices for beautiful nails during this special time.

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